Home Improvement Scams in the Eastern Panhandle

- HAGERSTOWN, W.Va. – Attorney General, Patrick Morrisey stopped by the WHAG studios to discuss home-improvement project scams.

He’s reminding residents in the Eastern Panhandle to make sure they draft and sign a contract with a contractor before starting any projects at home this summer.

“The Attorney General’s Eastern Panhandle Office in Martinsburg has received a lot of calls recently from consumers who hire a contractor for a project, but do not enter into a written contract first,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Many consumers in the Eastern Panhandle and elsewhere don’t know that a written contract is required when hiring a contractor for home improvement projects costing $250 or more. The contract protects both you and the company doing the work. When it is in writing, both sides know what the expectations are, what the cost will be and when payments will be made.”

Morrisey says Legislative Rule Title 142, Series 5, pertains to the prevention of unfair or deceptive acts or practices in home improvement transactions. This rule requires a written contract for any job of $250 or more that includes:
•The contractor’s name, address, and telephone number.
•A description in “plain language” of all goods and services purchased,
•The contract price, which must include all credit or financing information, as well as be calculated on a “cost plus” basis that is clearly set forth, along with the calculation method and a good faith estimate of the eventual contract price,
•An approximate completion date, and,
•The consumer’s write to cancel the contract within three business days.

Morrisey says contracts should be signed and dated by both the consumer and the contractor before any work begins.

If you have any questions about home improvement scams, or want to see if any complaints have been filed against a contractor, please call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808, or call the Eastern Panhandle field office at 304-267-0239.

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