Tips to avoid home-improvement fraud

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D.A. urges vigilance to avoid victimization

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Willistown Police Chief John M. Narcise warns: “If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

As summer temperatures soar, home-improvement scams can be a hot commodity, and Chester County District Attorney is offering some tips to avoid getting burned.

“Homeowners need to be vigilant when entering into home improvement contracts,” said Hogan in a news release.  “There are certain steps that homeowners can take to protect themselves from being the victim of fraud.”

Home improvement contractors are required to register with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, the release said.  Homeowners should check its website, www.attorneygeneral.gov, to make sure that the contractor is registered.  Homeowners also should carefully check contractor’s references, obtain more than one bid for a job, and check for complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.

Homeowners also should make sure that their home improvement contract is specific regarding the work to be done and the time frame within which the work should be completed.  In order to prosecute a case, the statute requires that the contract list a final date for completion.  The courts have dismissed cases when a final date was not included in the contract, the release said.

Finally, the release offers the following advice from Willistown Police Chief John M. Narcise: “If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.  Make sure to report suspected fraud to your local police department promptly.”

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