YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Five Bergen County contractors were among 30 statewide cited by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs for violations the first three months of 2015, officials announced this afternoon.
The DCA is seeking nearly $400,000 in restitution and civil penalties from those cited, Acting New Jersey Attorney General John J. Hoffman said.
• Agnello Construction of Mahwah
• Brownies Tree Service of Garfield
• Durango Travertine of Ridgefield
• Home Care of Oakland
• Medina Floors and Construction of Palisades Park
Others cited include A&E Improvements of North Bergen and Natural Energy Industries of Blauvelt, NY.
“The arrival of Spring signals the traditional start of New Jersey’s home improvement season,” Hoffman said, “and we are urging consumers to thoroughly review potential contractors before hiring someone to do work on their homes.
“Everyone needs to check whether a home improvement contractor is registered with the state before signing a contract or paying a deposit.”
Consumer Affairs investigators cited 22 of the 30 New Jersey contractors and Rockland County business for not being registered with the division as legally required.
To become registered, a contractor must disclose the physical location of the business and provide proof of having a minimum of $500,000 in liability insurance, among other requirements.
The 31 contractors issued Notices of Violation have been directed to pay a total of $266,526.60 in restitution to consumers, in amounts ranging from $400 to $81,050, for allegedly failing to complete work that consumers had paid for in advance, failing to refund deposits, or other issues.
The civil penalties assessed total $131,250.
Violators of the Contractors’ Registration Act are subject to civil penalties of up to $10,000 for the first violation and up to $20,000 for subsequent violations.
Each of those cited has the opportunity to contest the violation or correct it by “desisting from any practices in violation of the law, paying a civil penalty and/or consumer restitution where required, and submitting an application for registration, if not registered,” DCA officials said.
Team Leader Joseph Iasso and Investigators Loretta Creggett, Michelle Davis, Michael Meola, and Ray Yee of the DCA’s Office of Consumer Protection conducted the investigations.
Year after year, the DCA says, the most complaints it receives involve home improvements.
For home improvement projects costing more than $500, a contractor must provide the consumer with a written contract with specific, detailed information — including the project’s agreed-upon price, the starting and ending dates, the scope of work, and the contractor’s business name, address, and registration number, among other requirements.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.