According to an announcement made by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, a notice of violation has been issued to 89 contractors. Homeowners have been seeking $630,556.42 in civil penalties and consumer restitution. Authorities believe that this is the New Jersey home improvement peak season. Therefore, the Government has been trying to protect customers by responding to complaints in a timely manner. Strict actions are being taken against contractors who violate advertising and registration laws.
Industry experts believe that customers should gain as much knowledge as possible about contractors working on New Jersey home improvement projects. Customers should make sure the company is registered to carry out home improvement projects. Before signing a contract, everything should be clear and a proper research should be conducted.
During the second quarter, almost 40 contractors allegedly violated the law by carrying out projects as unregistered contractors. In order to get registered, a contractor needs to disclose the physical location of a business. He also needs to provide a proof of at least $500,000 in liability insurance. There are also some other requirements. Most unregistered contractors received a lot of consumer complaints. These contractors have been ordered to compensate customers.
There were around 50 registered contractors. Out of these around 50% received complaints from consumers. Even these contractors have been ordered to compensate customers. The other half of registered contractors didn’t receive any complaints. However, these were cited in the committee’s report because they couldn’t include registration numbers on public advertisements.
Some contractors in the committee’s report have cooperated with the authorities by agreeing to make payments to distressed customers. Out of 89 contractors, the division has ordered 56 contractors to pay a sum of $369,236.42 in restitution. In this regard, complaints were made because of unfinished or shoddy work. All the contractors also need to pay civil penalties. Violation notices have been issued against 120 contractors. The total amount in penalties and restitution is $1,028,333.02.
Industry experts believe that the Division of Consumer Affairs has been trying very hard to help customers. They are making efforts to confirm whether a contractor is registered or not. They are also checking if any complaints have been made against a certain contractor. Hiring an unregistered or fraudulent contractor can cost a lot of money, energy and time.
In the last few years, New Jersey home improvements have become the largest complaint category for the Division of Consumer Affairs, although there are a number of segment which are blemish free including garage door installation companies. Formal complaints against contractors have been rapidly increasing. For projects costing over $500, the contractor needs to provide customers with a written contract, which should include information about the project’s price, ending and starting deadlines, scope of work, contractor’s address, name, registration number and other information.
Every contractor who receives a notice of violation from the Division of Consumer Affairs can contest the assertion. The contractor can also contest and claim that the allegations made against him are false. However, wherever required, the contractor needs to pay restitution or penalty and submit an application for company registration. The Division of Consumer Affairs believes that it’s extremely important for customers to research properly before hiring contractors. It allows them to make informed choices and choose a registered contractor who remains committed and dedicated to the project.