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Division of Consumer Affairs
Press Release

Attorney General
Anne Milgram
Division of Consumer Affairs, Director
David Szuchman
   
For Immediate Release:
July 28, 2009
For Further Information Contact:
Jeff Lamm, 973-504-6327
 
Storm Victims Should Be Wary of Scams

NEWARK - The State Division of Consumer Affairs today cautioned storm victims in Hamilton Township and nearby areas to be wary when hiring contractors to repair storm-related damage following the violent thunderstorms on Sunday night.

Anyone offering to cut up and remove downed trees or repair damaged homes for payment must be a registered Home Improvement Contractor, under state law. The registration process requires contractors to carry insurance, among other requirements.

“In times of trouble, neighbors help neighbors. Unfortunately, we've also seen con artists try to make a buck off the suffering of others. Residents seeking to repair storm damage should be cautious and avoid anyone who should be registered as a Home Improvement Contractor but is not,” said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director.

A searchable database of all registered Home Improvement Contractors is located on the Division's web site at http://www.nj.gov/oag/ca/contractors/consumercont.htm . Consumers also can enter a town name and generate a list of all registered Home Improvement Contractors located in that community.

Consumers also can call the Division toll-free within New Jersey at 1-800-242-5846 (or from anywhere at 973-504-6200) and inquiry whether a contractor is registered and if any consumer complaints have been filed against the contractor.

Electricians and plumbers are licensed separately by the Division and are not required to be licensed as Home Improvement Contractors if they are working within the scope of their profession.

Consumers can file complaints about alleged violations of the Contractors' Registration Act or Consumer Fraud Act at http://www.nj.gov/oag/ca/ocp/ocpform.htm or by calling the Division at the telephone numbers listed above.

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