For Immediate Release - June 03, 2011

Storm-Affected Homeowners Should Use Massachusetts-Licensed Professionals, Avoid Out-of-State Entities Offering Repair Assistance

Status of contractors, electricians, plumbers and sheet metal workers should be checked before work begins

BOSTON - June 3, 2011 - Residents of areas impacted by this week's tornadoes and storms should be aware that out-of-state entities often pour into an affected region offering repair assistance, and homeowners should instead rely on Massachusetts-licensed contractors, electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers and other tradesmen to do work.

The Patrick-Murray Administration's Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation registers home improvement contractors, and the Division of Professional Licensure licenses electricians, plumbers, and sheet metal workers. Both agencies offer online systems to check a licensee's status.

Often following weather events with widespread damage, out-of-state crews will canvas the region offering repairs. In many cases, these crews are unlicensed and may not follow local building codes or do appropriate work.

"Unfortunately, weather disasters such as this week's tornadoes are often followed by unscrupulous individuals looking to take advantage of consumers who are stressed, anxious and vulnerable," said Barbara Anthony, the Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "These crews offer seemingly good deals, done fast, but in the long run my create significant problems for consumers"

Consumers are encouraged to check a registration or license before signing up with a contractor or tradesman to do work. The status of a contractor can be checked here , and consumers should also make sure the contractor is following state regulations regarding contracts and payment (for more information, click here ). The license of a plumber, electrician or sheet metal worker can be checked here .

Consumers who are approached by a crew or individual offering services without a license should contact the Office of Consumer Affairs Consumer Hotline at (888) 283-3757, and should also call that number if they have any further questions about a licensee's status.

The Division of Professional Licensure is a regulatory agency responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for approximately 330,000 licensees across 43 trades and professions under the jurisdiction of 31 Boards of Registration. The Division of Professional Licensure is an agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Follow the Office at www.mass.gov/consumer, its Consumer Connections Blog and at its Twitter feed, @Mass_Consumer.

 

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