Home Improvement Fraud
Home Improvement Fraud
The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA) requires contractors to register with the Attorney General’s office, To verify the registration of a home improvement contractor, go to the Registered Contractors page at the Attorney General's website. Please note: Registration under HICPA is not an endorsement, recommendation or approval by the Office of Attorney General of the contractor’s competency or skill.
In addition to verifying a contractor is registered with the Attorney General’s office, you should also:
- Thoroughly check your contractor’s references.
- Obtain more than one bid for the job.
- Check for complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.
Consumers or businesses can call the Home Improvement Registration Hotline, at 1-888-520-6680, to report unregistered contractors operating in their communities. Complaints about unregistered contractors can also be emailed to: HIC@attorneygeneral.gov
Most disputes between homeowners and contractors, such as quality of work, non-payment, timeliness, etc. are civil, not criminal, matters. These matters can only be addressed by filing a civil lawsuit, either at your local District Court or the Indiana County Court of Common Pleas, depending upon the amount of restitution sought. It is a good idea to consult an attorney in these matters. The District Attorney cannot represent homeowners or contractors in a civil matter.
The following actions in regards to home improvement are criminal:
- makes a false or misleading statement to solicit a person to enter into any written or oral agreement for home improvement services or to justify an increase in the previously agreed upon price;
- receive any advance payment and fails to provide services or materials and fails to return the payment received;
- misrepresents or conceals the contractor's or salesperson's real name, the name of the contractor's business, the contractor's business address or any other identifying information;
- damages a person's property with the intent to encourage that person to enter into an agreement for performing home improvement services or providing home improvement materials;
- misrepresents himself or another as an employee or agent of the Federal, Commonwealth or municipal government, any other governmental unit or any public utility with the intent to cause a person to enter into any agreement for performing home improvement services or providing home improvement materials;
- misrepresents an item as a special order material or to misrepresent the cost of the special order material;
- alters a home improvement agreement, mortgage, promissory note or other document incident to performing or selling a home improvement without the consent of the consumer;
- directly or indirectly publishes a false or deceptive advertisement in violation of State law governing advertising about home improvement.
If you believe you may be the victim of Home Improvement Fraud, contact the Indiana County Detective Bureau at 724-471-7777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.