W.Va. AG Reminds Consumers to Research Contractors Before Hiring

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey reminded consumers who are considering home improvements to do adequate research before hiring an individual contractor or company to do the job.

Autumn is a popular time for home repairs and completing projects to prepare a home for winter weather.

“This time of year is ideal for home improvements, and many individuals and companies will seek out potential work,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Consumers should do their homework and make sure they know who they’re hiring. That can make a difference and save consumers from potential complications down the road.”

Consumers can ask trusted friends and family for references or search online reviews.

It is also important that consumers know how to navigate any contracts involved.

State law requires a written contract when hiring a contractor for home improvement projects costing $250 or more. In addition to a contract, jobs of $2,500 or more require the contractor to be licensed by the state Contractor Licensing Board.

A contract should always include the contractor’s name, address, telephone number and contractor license number, along with a description in “plain language” of all goods and services purchased.

Additionally, the contract price with all credit or financing information, an approximate completion date and notification of the consumer’s three-day right to cancel any contract signed at the project site should all be included.

Drafting a contract can be easy and does not require a lawyer. Such agreements should be signed and dated by both the consumer and the contractor before any work begins. Each party should retain a copy of the contract.

For more information, read the Attorney General’s brochure, “Measuring Up: A Consumer’s Guide to Hiring Contractors for Home Repairs,” at http://bit.ly/2NnXioH.

Anyone with questions or knowledge of a potential home improvement scam should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.

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Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com