FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Scott Elliott
March 18, 2009
717-730-4380, ext. 3010 (office)
Pennsylvania Builders Association alerts consumers to new law registering home improvement contractors
Law provides public with one more consumer protection tool, but does not replace the need for careful research before signing contracts
LEMOYNE – As the weather warms and home shows take place across the state, the Pennsylvania Builders Association alerts consumers to a new law requiring home improvement contractors to be registered with the state Attorney General’s office by July 1.
The new law is intended to provide consumers with a new tool for identifying reputable contractors to help with home remodeling and repair projects. Beginning July 1, the public will be able to contact the Attorney General’s office to see if a home improvement contractor is registered and whether any complaints have been filed against that company. Since home improvement contractors will be required to register their permanent business address, this will help the Attorney General’s office track down sham businesses that attempt to defraud consumers.
“Our association supports this new law because we think it offers another layer of protection for consumers without being overly burdensome on the thousands of honest home improvement contractors working in Pennsylvania,” said PBA President Gene Kreitzer.
“We want to remind consumers, however, that registration does not replace the need for homeowners to do their research and collect multiple bids before signing any home improvement contract. The best protection is a well-educated consumer, and PBA will continue its public education efforts to give homeowners the tools they need to find a reputable contractor for their home improvement projects.”
PBA regularly leads presentations at home shows and other events to educate consumers on the proper steps they should take to make sure their remodeling project goes smoothly.
PBA advises that a good first step for finding a reputable contractor is for homeowners to call their local homebuilding association for a list of its members. The fact that a contractor is a member of a trade association, like PBA, that stresses ongoing professional development increases your chances of finding a capable and trustworthy builder.
A list of the 40 local builders associations and chapters across Pennsylvania is available on the PBA Web site at www.PaBuilders.org. Simply move your cursor over the “Consumers” category in the menu bar and then click on the selection “Local Builders Associations” in the drop-down menu that appears. Consumers also can call PBA toll-free at 800-692-7339 to ask for assistance.
The next step is actually choosing a contractor, and it’s important homeowners take the time to make an informed decision. Problems most often occur at this stage when consumers rush a decision and fail to thoroughly investigate a contractor before signing a contract.
Consumers should watch out for contractors who offer unusually low bids. Regardless of how attractive the price may be, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
A free brochure offering advice about how to hire a reputable contractor is available from PBA by calling 800-692-7339. This brochure also can be downloaded from the PBA web site at www.PaBuilders.org. Simply click on “Consumers” from the menu bar and then click on the selection “Hiring a Reputable Contractor” in the “Quick Links” section. There is other good homeowner information in the Consumer section in the “Around the House” blog, which is updated monthly with home maintenance ideas and suggestions.
“Our members’ reputations are their most valuable asset, which is why PBA has worked so hard over the years to make helpful information available to consumers. This helps them make informed decisions when remodeling or building a new home,” Kreitzer said.
Speakers are available from PBA for groups interested in hearing more about this important consumer topic.
Chartered in 1952, the Pennsylvania Builders Association is a nonprofit professional trade organization representing more than 9,000 member-companies from across the commonwealth. PBA members and their 528,000 employees include builders, remodelers, material suppliers, subcontractors, consultants, lending institutions, utilities and others involved in the housing industry.
PBA serves its membership by providing proactive leadership on state regulatory and legislative issues and by offering products and services to its 40 local associations and chapters that enhance the effectiveness and professionalism of its members. PBA serves Pennsylvania communities and consumers through its steadfast efforts to protect homeownership rights and advocate for affordable housing options. PBA is affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders.