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Beware before you build - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Beware before you build

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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -

  If you're hiring someone to work on your home, you might be paying too much and doing so illegally. An investigation by the New York Ag's office reveals contractors in three counties are knowingly breaking the law. "Unfortunately not enough consumers know this law and not enough contractors abide by it" Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said at a press conference Saturday. "Last May we began an investigation about the practices of area contractors and what we found was astounding" he said.

     The investigation revealed 46 New York contractors and 1 Vermont contractor broke the home improvements contract law in Essex, Clinton and Franklin counties. The law requires that the company and customer must enter into an agreed upon contract before construction takes place. Schneiderman found several contractors were disregarding that law and charging hundreds of homeowners more than the original agreed upon price for home improvement projects. "What were hoping is that through this announcement and the fact that some contractors have been hit with pretty substantial fines, that they will tell fellow contractors 'hey you have to have a written contract a separate bank account for consumer deposits'" Glen Michaels, assistant to the attorney general said.

     The 47 contractors face fines ranging from 300 to 1500 dollars. Michaels says not all of the contractors were disobeying the law intentionally, many of them just weren't aware of it. "It's a good law and it helps minimize problems with good contractors and helps weed out the bad apples" Michaels said. He says they anticipate more homeowners will be coming forward after this announcement. The investigation is ongoing.

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