Contractors who do home-improvement work in Pennsylvania should have registered with the state by now, to comply with a registration law that took effect July 1. The state is urging consumers to contact authorities to verify registration before hiring any contractors.
The state’s new Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act requires all contractors who perform $5,000 or more in home improvements in a year to register with the attorney general's office. Almost 32,000 Pennsylvania contractors have registered since registration began March 23.
Registered contractors are required to have at least $50,000 of personal injury liability coverage and $50,000 of property damage coverage. The law provides new protection for consumers who hire home improvement contractors and authorizes criminal penalties for home improvement fraud.
Consumers can check on the registration status of any home improvement contractor in Pennsylvania by visiting www.attorneygeneral.gov or by calling 1-888-520-6680.
Complaints involving home improvement or repair projects are one of the top subjects of calls to the attorney general's Bureau of Consumer Protection. Attorney General Tom Corbett. In 2008, the office received more than 2,100 such complaints from consumers
Corbett said that the office filed numerous legal actions last year against "no show" contractors and others doing substandard work, seeking more than $2 million in consumer refunds, fines and civil penalties.
The program’s Web site includes information for each registered contractor, including:
- Contact and insurance information
- A description of the company
- Information on any prior home improvement businesses
- Names of anyone with an interest in the business
- Any contractor licenses
- Bankruptcy, criminal plea and conviction history
Corbett emphasized that his office was not endorsing any particular contractor's quality of work or honesty.
"Being listed on our search page means only that the contractor is complying with the registration requirement of the home improvement consumer protection act and meeting the insurance requirements," Corbett said.