From State Rep. Don Walko:
The Pennsylvania’s Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act is now in effect. This new law, which I voted for last year, aims to protect consumers from home improvement fraud by requiring individuals who hire themselves out as contractors and make more than $5,000 a year from home improvement to register with the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
This act should be very effective, since countless homeowners each year are victims of home improvement fraud. Because of these new provisions, homeowners can now verify their contractor with the Attorney General’s Office and feel more secure in their investment.
In addition to registering, contractors are required to maintain minimum insurance coverage and clearly spell out their terms and the details of their projects in a contract.
The act defines the previously nonexistent criminal offense of home improvement fraud, and sets the penalties for any action that qualifies. Previously, acts such as misrepresentation and failing to fulfill contracts were handled in civil court. Now they can incur a third-degree felony charge.
Homeowners now have an extremely valuable tool at their disposal. This will help many contracting businesses increase their credibility, and at the same time help consumers by putting more firewalls in place, ensuring a reliable and efficient transaction.
Registration is available online at www.attorneygeneral.gov or by mailing an application to the Attorney General’s Office. It is valid for two years, and costs $50. Those who register online will receive their registration number and a printable registration certificate instantly. They will need their insurance information, Federal Employment ID number or their Social Security number to register.
Consumers can call toll free 1-888-520-6680 or visit www.attorneygeneral.gov to see if their contractor is registered.
If you have a question about a state-related issue, please visit www.pahouse.com/Walko or call my office at 412-321-5523.