November 15, 2011
County Clerk offers ways to avoid home repair rip-offs
WHITE PLAINS, NY: Westchester County residents are fed–up with recent storms including Hurricane Irene and the surprise Nor’easter which dumped many inches of snow and rain, brought down hundreds of trees and wires, and caused a record number of widespread power outages throughout the county. “Among the hardest hit by these devastating storms are seniors,” shared Westchester County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni, who has visited with more than seven hundred seniors throughout the county this fall. “As many seniors live alone, they may be more vulnerable to home improvement rip-offs,“ continued Idoni who visits senior centers throughout the county to alert our older residents about rip-offs targeting seniors. To help avoid common pitfalls that can unnecessarily cost seniors their hard-earned life savings, County Clerk Idoni offers the following helpful tips:
- Beware of unsolicited “Home Repairmen” showing up at your home.
- Ask to see proof of a license before allowing a contractor, plumber or electrician into your home.
- Contact the County’s Consumer Protection department (914)995-2155 to check a contractor’s home improvement license.
- Consult trusted family members, friends or an attorney before signing a contract or entering into a financial arrangement for repairs to your home.
- Make sure to get any arrangement in writing and understand what you are signing, including reading the fine print before you agree to the provisions.
- Don’t make a final payment until you are satisfied the work has been completed.
- Ask “officials” such as utility workers to produce identification and confirm their employment status before letting them into your home.
The Licensing Division in the Office of the Westchester County Clerk is located at 110 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., White Plains and is open from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. A list of licensed electricians and plumbers in Westchester County is also available on the County Clerk website at www.WestchesterClerk.com.