CONSUMER ALERT: Hoosiers should take precautions during home projects

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (ADAMS) – The Office of the Attorney General has received multiple complaints this summer about home-improvement contractors. As Hoosiers consider tackling home-improvement projects during the remainder of the warm-weather months, they should follow these tips:

Always insist on a contract. This is the first step to ensuring you and any contractor are on the same page as to the scope of work and price for the project.

Take your time. Don’t let anyone rush your decision.

Never pay for the entire project before work begins. Any payments should be tied to the completion of specific items from the contract.

Do your research. Ask friends, family, and neighbors for any information on a contractor before you use them. Consider contacting the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division for complaint information on contractors you are considering.

Don’t assume a flyer or ad makes a contractor reliable. Individuals and companies engaging in outdoor home improvement frequently leave flyers and advertisements on consumers’ doors or mailboxes.

Keep all records related to your project. This includes any contracts, receipts, warranties and correspondence (including texts and emails).

If a contractor does not complete the work agreed upon, consider filing a complaint with the Attorney General.

In addition to the above tips, the Indiana Home Improvement Contracts Act requires home improvement contracts exceeding $150 to be in writing. The contract must also contain certain information, including: contact information for the home improvement supplier; a description of the work to be done; the approximate starting and completion dates for the work; a statement of contingencies that may change the completion date; and the contract price.

This Friday is Consumer Protection Day at the Indiana State Fair, sponsored by the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. Fairgoers are invited to stop by our booth to say hello, talk about consumer issues and check to see whether they have unclaimed property. Staff members will also be distributing helpful information throughout the fairgrounds.

Consumers who believe they are the victims of scam attempts are asked to report them to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-800-382-5516 or going online and clicking the “File a Complaint” box at the bottom of the page.