Home Improvement and Contract Problems

NJ Consumer Protection Attorneys in Monmouth County

pexels-photo-largeHome improvement and contract problems involving New Jersey contractors

Whether you have an emergency home repair or have been saving up for a new kitchen remodel, New Jersey homeowners have their choice of contractors willing to take on your home project. These contractors know they are negotiating for your hard-earned money and they are usually willing to play “let’s make a deal”. Most of the time, it all works out and, before long, you and your family are enjoying the beautiful home improvement. Sometimes, contractors aren’t as forthright as they should be. Contractors can and should be held financially liable for deceptive sales practices and fraud. Not every home improvement case is fraudulent. There is a difference between sloppy workmanship and fraud. Contractors can’t charge for work that isn’t needed, not included all the charges or charge higher rates because of expertise when they don’t have that expertise. They can’t tell you a job will take days to complete when they know it will take weeks. They can’t tell you certain materials are needed to do the job when they know those materials aren’t needed. Tomes & Hanratty, P.C. represents homeowners in cases involving home improvement and contract problems, defective construction or fraudulent representations of labor or materials used in:

  • Kitchen remodeling
  • Roof repair
  • Sidewalk or stairs replacement
  • Electrical work
  • Plumbing work
  • Bathroom remodeling
  • Installation of air conditioning or heating systems
  • Work on or installation of a home heating system
  • Finishing an attic
  • Adding on to the home
  • Any additional sorts of home repairs

Can my contractor be trusted?

Trustworthy contractors should be licensed and insured. You can check the website of the Division of Consumer Affairs to see if a contractor is licensed. You could also check with the New Jersey Attorney General’s office to see if there are any complaints against or litigation involving a particular contractor. You should be suspicious if the contractor:

  • Tells you there is no need for a written contract
  • Provides quotes that are vastly different than other contractors offering the same services
  • Is not registered with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
  • Asks for more than a third of total costs before work can begin
  • Demands to be paid in cash
  • Claims you don’t need a waiver of lien
  • Offers an unusually long guarantee or warranty
  • Does not use an office or land line to conduct business, but a cell phone with voice mail that does not identify the company
  • Pressures you to make an immediate decision
  • Approaches homeowners door-to-door instead of waiting for solicitations

Proactive steps to prevent contractor consumer fraud

Make sure you read everything you sign and are cautious. Before you sign a contract, ask for a lien waiver, which is a receipt that states that the workers and material suppliers will not ask you for money once you have paid the contractor.

You are protected under new jersey law

New Jersey law does protect consumers against fraud. Under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, contractors must register as a contractor and provide:

  • A written contract for any home improvements projects over $500.00
  • Beginning and ending dates for the contract, along with a description of the work to be done and the total estimated price
  • The full name, address and registration number for the company
  • Information related to the company/contractor’s commercial general liability insurance, including the policy number and contact information for the insurance agent.

You may have the right to cancel the contract

A consumer, for any reason, may cancel certain signed contracts before midnight of the third business day after he or she receives a copy of the contract. Put the cancellation in writing and either personally deliver it to the contractor or send it registered or certified mail with a return receipt requested.

Contact our Monmouth County consumer protection law firm

Home construction fraud cases are different than other cases of consumer fraud. You need an attorney who has a record of success investigating this type of case and winning damages for the consumer. Our attorneys work with architects, engineers, construction experts, and other professionals to evaluate the actions and failures of contractors. We identify departures from blueprints, code violations, use of substandard materials, and deceptive practices used to create faulty projected costs, purchase poor materials, failure to comply with insurance issues and/or obtain necessary contractor licenses. We examine the terms of a home improvement contract and cross-reference it with the actual work. Not doing what was promised in the contract may constitute fraud if a contractor knowingly and intentionally misrepresents facts about him or herself, the company, or the work to be done. To schedule an appointment to discuss your case, contact Tomes & Hanratty, P.C. today.