The Department of Consumer Protection is urging consumers to avoid paying more than they have to by being on the lookout for possible price gouging as Connecticut continues to recover from storms that swept through on May 15.
DCP spokesperson Lora Rae Anderson said the best thing consumers can do is get multiple quotes before hiring a contractor.
“I know it's a stressful time when people want to get these repairs or updates done to their home quickly. But trust us, ask for a couple quotes. You'll be happy that you did," she said.
Anderson said DCP recommends getting at least three quotes, and warned consumers to be wary of anyone who pressures you into hiring them right away.
Other red flags include asking for payment upfront and/or in cash.
DCP also recommends asking for multiple references before hiring a contractor. Anderson said it’s important those references have had work done similar to the repairs you need. You should also check the contractor’s qualifications and experience.
Anyone who is working on your home should have a Home Improvement Contractor’s license, which is issued by DCP.
For yard work, Anderson said a license is not needed for removing fallen trees and other debris. However, in order to prune or trim tree limbs or spray pesticides a person must have an arborist license. Those are issued by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Finally, whenever you hire someone to work on your property, get a signed contract. Make sure it includes their license number, the cost of the project, exactly what will be done, and the start and end dates of the work.
Consumers who have concerns about price gouging are encouraged to file complaints with DCP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with details regarding their issue.
Check a home improvement contractor’s license by clicking here.
Check an arborist license by emailing email@example.com or calling 860-424-3369.