According to a statement by the Connecticut Attorney General, 160 unregistered contractors were busted in a sting operation. Neat! From the statement:
When we say that we expect contractors to comply with the law we mean it,” Commissioner Farrell said in announcing the results of the sting operation, which was conducted with cooperation from the Ridgefield, Redding, Stratford, Fairfield, and Trumbull Police Departments, Trumbull building officials, and the Connecticut Department of Transportation. “Any person who wants to perform work in Connecticut must follow the State’s legal requirements associated with the job. This should not come as a surprise to anyone. We intend to pursue appropriate penalties and punishment for these contractors.”
The sting operation used an empty house in Ridgefield, CT to lure unsuspecting contractors. Department of Consumer Protection agents, posing as home owners, invited contractors to bid on various projects at the house. The sting operation concentrated on contractors who had been named in consumer complaints, but also included names collected from newspapers, local building officials police departments and business cards placed with local shop keepers. The vast majority of the contractors caught in the sting were from CT, but 44 were from New York.
Why was the sting important? According to the Farrell, it’s a good way to remind consumers that there is Home Improvement Guaranty Fund in CT that provides up to $15,000 to victimized consumers, but “the money is only available to homeowners who have used a registered contractor. That is why it is so important to verify your contractor’s registration before signing any contract or giving them any money.”
That’s good advice whether you live in CT or not. —MEGHANN MARCO
160 Home Improvement Contractors Caught in Department’s “Operation Spring Sting” (.doc) [CT Department of Consumer Affairs]