Recently Coloradans have experienced severe weather, prompting the need for immediate home repairs. Consumers need to watch out for dishonest and phony contractors soliciting business. When considering a company, check with your local building, licensing and permits departments to see what licenses and permits the business is required to have for your location. Some locations require a peddlers and solicitors permit when going door-to-door soliciting business. Many times, traveling contractors come in to an area after severe storms seeking business to make a quick dollar and they do not have the necessary licensing and permits. Licensing and permit requirements vary by county and municipality, which prompts the need for you to check with your local departments to see what they require.
Consumers need to check out reputable companies to get bids, and should get at least three bids before contracting for work. It is a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau, Colorado Attorney General’s Office and others to determine if a company is reputable.
On June 6, 2012, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 12-038 concerning measures to protect consumers who engage a roofing contractor to perform roofing services on residential property. Effectively immediately, roofers are required to have a written contract between the homeowner and roofing contractor for any job over $1,000. The contract shall include:
- The scope of roofing services and materials to be provided.
- The approximate dates of service.
- The approximate costs of the services based on damages known at the time the contract is entered.
- The roofing contractor’s contact information, including physical address, electronic mail address, telephone number, and any other contact information available for the roofing contractor.
- Identification of the roofing contractor’s surety and liability coverage insurer and their contact information, if applicable. Make sure the name of the insurance certificate matches the name of the roofer.
- The roofing contractor’s policy regarding cancellation of the contract and refund of any deposit, including a rescission clause allowing the property owner to rescind the contract and obtain a full refund of any deposit within 72 hours after entering the contract.
- A statement that if the property owner plans to pay for the roofing services through an insurance claim, the roofer cannot pay, waive or rebate the homeowner’s insurance deductible in part or in whole.
- A statement that the roofing contractor shall hold in trust any payment from the property owner until the roofing contractor has delivered roofing materials at the residential property site or has performed a majority of the roofing work on the residential property.
Make sure you read and understand the contract before you sign it. In addition to obtaining a contract with the roofer, here are some additional consumer protection tips:
- Make sure the roofer is licensed, if required for your location.
- Make sure the roofer obtains permits and gets the appropriate inspections.
- Don’t pay for the work up-front or sign over your insurance check.
- Don’t pay cash for the job.
- Don’t feel pressured to make a quick decision.
- Check references.
- Review the roofing contractor’s worker’s compensation policies.
By following these steps, you can help protect yourself from fraud. If you have been victimized, file a complaint with your local law enforcement agency. The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office Consumer Protection Line provides assistance to victims of crime and answers questions on white collar crime issues. If you have a question or need assistance, call 720-874-8547.