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Beware of Storm Damage Repair Scams

In the wake of Tropical Storm Debby, Pinellas County's Department of Justice and Consumer Services reminds residents to be cautious when hiring a contractor.

Even though Tampa Bay didn't take a direct hit, Tropical Storm Debby made her presence felt enough to do some damage.

But be wise when you go to make those home repairs.

Here are some tips to avoid becoming the victim of a home improvement scam from the The Pinellas County Department of Justice and Consumer Services.

  1. Beware of "fly-by-night" contractors who take deposits and do little or no work. Avoid dealing with anyone soliciting work door-to-door. Take the opportunity to check them out first.
  2. Be wary of contractors who ask for advance payment in full. Pay upon completion or as the work progresses.
  3. Beware of any contractor who claims that extensive or structural repairs do not require a permit. The contractor should pull the required building permits, not the homeowner.

These tips will help ensure that the repairs are completed to your satisfaction:

  1. Deal only with licensed and insured contractors. Verify that the license is current and active by contacting the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board at (727) 582-3100 or www.pcclb.com.
  2. Be sure that you have a written contract that details the work to be completed.
  3. Also, retain proof of payment for the work in case you need it later.
  4. Require the contractor to supply a final affidavit indicating that all subcontractors and suppliers used on the job are paid in full.
  5. Ensure that the contractor has had the work inspected by the building department before you make final payment.

To check the complaint history of a business or if you need assistance with a consumer problem, contact Justice and Consumer Services at 727-464-6200 or visit www.pinellascounty.org/consumer.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit www.pinellascounty.org/emergency and join Pinellas County EM on Twitter. Pinellas County government is also on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. 

Joe Kurtzke June 28, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Be sure to see that they are Licensed. If they are a company you can go to www.sunbiz.org and check to see that they are in good standing and not inactive. Also check for Workers Comp coverage. You can be listed as the Certificate holder on a Certificate of Proof of Coverage of Workers Comp Coverage and all the contractor needs to do is contact his Workers Comp carrier or providor and ask that a certificate of proof of coverage be issued with you as the certificate holder. If you have a fax or email this can and should be delivered to you within 24 hours or less of the request M-F. If anyone needs workers comp coverage, at SPLI we can cover any company or entitiy with at least 1 employee in the blue, gray or white collar industries and the contractor can request a certificate of proof of coverage 24 hours a day 7 days a week and M-F it will be delivered within 24 hours or less. contact me with any questions or if you need coverage. joe.k@southeastpersonnel.com

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