As you plan for your home repair/improvement project, it is important to ask the right questions in order to protect your investment. The tips in this fact sheet should allow you to protect yourself as a consumer and minimize the possibility that a misunderstanding may occur.
KNOW YOUR CONSUMER RIGHTS – CONTRACTS
- Get all estimates in writing.
- Do not be induced into signing a contract by high-pressure sales tactics.
- Never sign a contract with blank spaces or one you do not fully understand. If you are taking out a loan to finance the work, do not sign the contract before your lender approves the loan.
- Remember, you have three business days from the time you sign your contract to cancel any contract if the sale is made in your home. The contractor cannot deprive you of this right by initiating work, selling your contract to a lender or any other tactic.
- If the contractor does business under a name other than the contractor’s real name, the business must either be incorporated or registered under the Assumed Business Name Act. Check with the Secretary of State to see if the business is incorporated or with the county clerk to see if the business has registered under the Assumed Business Name Act.
- Homeowners should check with local and county units of government to determine if permits or inspections are required.
- Determine whether the contractor will guarantee his or her work and products.
- Determine whether the contractor has the proper insurance.
- Do not sign a certificate of completion or make final payment until the work is done to your satisfaction.
- Remember, homeowners should know who provided supplies and labor for any work performed in their home. Suppliers and subcontractors have a right to file a lien against your property if the general contractor fails to pay them. To protect your property, request lien waivers from the general contractor.