American Property Casualty Insurance Association
  • Staff Contact: Jeffrey Brewer     
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Contact:

Frank O’Brien

Jeffrey Brewer

Phone:

617-513-7550

847-553-3763

Email:

Frank.obrien@pciaa.net

Jeffrey.brewer@pciaa.net

 

 

FOR RELEASE ON RECEIPT

July 30, 2014

PCI Urges Revere Residents Affected by Monday’s Tornado to Use Caution When Hiring a Contractor

 

BOSTON – As residents move forward with the clean-up and rebuilding process following the tornado that hit Revere, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) urges them to use caution in hiring a contractor and to watch out for scams and other fraudulent activity.

“Following a natural disaster it is normal to be in a hurry to begin making repairs, but we encourage people to take the time to check the credentials of the businesses and individuals they are considering hiring to repair their property,” said Frank O’Brien, vice president for PCI. “While the overwhelming majority of contractors are honest and above-board, as the rebuilding process gets underway, unlicensed contractors and scam artists may be looking to cash in on the misfortune. Consumers can save a lot of time, money and frustration by taking the time to check references, sign a clear contract and pay as work is completed on the home.”

There are resources available to assist consumers if they experience price gouging, home repair scams or charitable giving fraud. If you suspect fraudulent activity be sure to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s consumer hotline at (617) 727-8400.

PCI urges homeowners to follow these “Do’s & Don’ts” when hiring a contractor:

Do’s:

Be suspicious of any contractor who tries to rush you, especially on non-emergency or temporary repairs.

Shop around for a contractor by getting recommendations from friends and neighbors. Be wary of anyone knocking on your door offering unsolicited repairs to your home.  FEMA does not endorse repair contractors.

Always inspect the work and make sure you are satisfied before you pay the contractor.

Get three written estimates for the work and compare bids. Check credentials with the Better Business Bureau or state attorney general’s office to see if the firm has any outstanding complaints. You can verify a home improvement contractor's registration online on the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation's website.

Always have a written, detailed contract that clearly states everything the contractor will do, including prices for labor and materials, clean-up procedures, and estimated start and finish dates.

 

DON’Ts:

Never pay for work up front. Don’t hire a contractor that requires all payments before work is completed. Most contractors will require a reasonable down payment on work, but don’t pay anything until you have a signed written contract.

Never sign a contract with blank spaces, which a crooked contractor can alter after he’s gotten your signature.

Don’t believe a contractor who says he’s supported by the government. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does not endorse individual contractors or loan companies; call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA for more information.

Avoid paying with cash; use a check or credit card instead. This creates a record of your payments to the contractor.

For more information, please go to PCI’s Contractor’s Tips webpage. (http://www.pciaa.net/web/sitehome.nsf/lcpublic/155/$file/Nat_Cat_Tips_Contractor.pdf )

PCI is composed of more than 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross-section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write over $195 billion in annual premium, 39 percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member companies write 46 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 32 percent of the homeowners market, 37 percent of the commercial property and liability market, and 41 percent of the private workers compensation market.

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