Reports of people preying on victims of the storms are already surfacing and the governor is warning homeowners to check on a contractor’s license before hiring him.
"Sadly, almost as quickly as the waters rose, scam artists have begun to emerge," Gov. M. Jodi Rell said. "It is despicable that unscrupulous people would take advantage of the misery of others.”
At issue are contractors going door-to-door and offering repair services, Rell said.
“I am urging homeowners to double-check the credentials of anyone they consider hiring before accepting any offers or paying out any money,” Rell said. “Steer clear of high-pressure sales tactics that may cause you to pay exorbitant prices.”
To check on a contactor’s credential, visit the Department of Consumer Protection Web site www.ct.gov/dcp and click “Verify a License” or call the DCP 800-842-2649.
Regardless of what state the contractor is from, home improvement contractors who work in Connecticut must be registered here, Rell said.
Stump removal contractors should be registered with the Department of Consumer Protection. Electricians, plumbers, heating and cooling contractors and other tradespersons must be appropriately licensed to perform the work and arborists must be licensed by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Ask for a copy of the contractors Connecticut license or registration cards and insurance certificates and ask for a list of references, Rell advises.
“Homeowners who end up with property damage or unfinished work at the hands of a registered contractor may qualify for restitution from the state's Home Improvement Guaranty Fund - but those who hire unlicensed or unregistered contractors don't have this benefit," DCP Commissioner Jerry Farrell said.