State residents advised to look out for contractor scams after Ian
RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - The North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors is advising citizens to be cautious of scam artists posing as legitimate contractors after Hurricane Ian.
The board reminds North Carolinians that licensed general contractors have passed an examination, have met the financial requirements, and have completed continuing education courses required for being a licensed general contractor in North Carolina.
“We’ve seen that natural disasters lead to an increase in individuals posing as legitimate licensed contractors in an effort to prey upon vulnerable citizens,” C. Frank Wiesner, NCLBGC executive director said. “Individuals who hire unlicensed contractors are putting themselves at greater financial risk.”
The NCLBGC reminds citizens of the following:
- Any project quoted at $30,000 or more requires a valid NC general contractors license.
- Projects less than $30,000 do not require a license. However, hiring a North Carolina licensed general contractor may offer security in knowing that you have contracted with a general contractor who is authorized to perform work in NC. Ask for proof that the contractor is licensed. The NCLBGC does not recognize licenses or issued by other states or countries. Citizens can verify if the contractor is properly licensed by 1) searching on the NCLBGC’s website at www.nclbgc.org; 2) calling the NCLBGC at (800) 220-7185; or 3) downloading the Board’s free mobile app for Apple and Android devices by entering “NCLBGC SEARCH” in the search feature.
- Be wary of door-to-door repair solicitations or people who demand deposits or payments in cash.
- Contact your insurance company for guidance before beginning any work. Do not make a large deposit or upfront payment in full. Require a written contract that details the work to be done, materials to be used, a payment schedule that is based on completion of work, and a timeline for work to be completed. A licensed general contractor is required to list their license number on all contracts.
- Do not make payments before work specified on the payment schedule is completed.
- Do not make payments for any work not specified in the contract unless it has been submitted and approved in writing by you before the additional work begins.
- Request a Certificate of Insurance from the contractor and verify it is valid by contacting the party who issued it.
- Contact the local permitting office or inspections department to determine if permits are required to assure building code compliance. If permits are required, confirm with the permit office that the contractor has acquired them before construction begins.
- Before making final payment, evaluate the completed work and require the contractor to confirm that all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid to eliminate potential liens on your property.
- Contact local law enforcement if you suspect you are being scammed by a contractor.
- Contact the NC Attorney General’s office if you suspect you are being price gouged by the contractor at https://ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint/price-gouging/ or call toll free within North Carolina at (877)-5-NO-SCAM or (877)-566-7226.
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