March 23, 2009
Attorney General announces that registration is now open for home improvement contractors; under new law, contractors must register by July 1
HARRISBURG - Attorney General Corbett today announced that contractors can now begin to register with the Attorney General's Office, in order to comply with a new law that goes into effect July 1.
Corbett explained that in 2008, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act. The law requires that all contractors who perform $5,000 or more in home improvements in a year must register with the Attorney General's Office.
"We have worked to ensure that the registration process is as quick and easy as possible," Corbett said. "If you complete your registration online, you will receive your registration number instantaneously."
Corbett said that the intent of the Act is to protect consumers from unscrupulous contractors, provide new protection for consumers who hire home improvement contractors and authorize criminal penalties for home improvement fraud.
"Complaints involving home improvement or repair projects are one of the top subjects of calls to the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection," Corbett said. "This legislation will give us new tools to identify and prosecute problem contractors, while also helping consumers avoid frustrating and potentially expensive problems in the future."
Corbett said that in 2008, the Attorney General's Office received more than 2,100 complaints from consumers struggling with problems involving home improvement projects. He added that legal actions filed last year against "no show" contractors and others doing substandard work seek more than $2 million in consumer refunds, fines and civil penalties.
Corbett said home improvement contractors will now be required to register with the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection, maintain minimum insurance coverage and use contracts that contain important information about home projects, including the start date and completion date, a description of work being performed and consumers' rights under the law. The registration is valid for two years.
Corbett noted that contractors can register online at www.attorneygeneral.gov, or by submitting a completed application form to Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Bureau of Consumer Protection, ATTN: Home Improvement Contractor Registration, 15th Floor, Strawberry Square, Harrisburg, PA, 17120. Forms are available online or by calling 1-800-441-2555.
As of July 1, 2009, consumers in Pennsylvania will be able to verify a contractor's registration with our office by visiting our website or by calling our toll-free hotline. In the coming months, our office will encourage consumers to use registered contractors when deciding to make home improvements.
The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act was sponsored by Sen. Robert "Tommy" Tomlinson of Bucks County. Rep. Keith McCall of Carbon County sponsored similar legislation in the House of Representatives. Tomlinson and McCall were both instrumental in securing passage of the measure.
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