Motion Information Troubleshooters examine Pennsylvania’s flawed contractor registration system

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Beware if you happen to ever plan on hiring a house enchancment contractor.

Pennsylvania customers are inspired to confirm {that a} contractor is registered with the state. However the Troubleshooters have examined the registration system and uncovered main deficiencies. Learn on as we spotlight these points by means of the lens of a number of customers who all employed the identical contractor.

“I simply need nobody else to need to undergo this,” mentioned Lisa Triolo of Perkasie, Bucks County.

“I simply don’t desire it to occur to anyone else,” mentioned Matt Snyder of Northeast Philadelphia.

That is what Triolo and Snyder instructed the Troubleshooters after their experiences with a contractor named Ray Cedar. They are saying he did not do high quality work.

Jess DeMarco instructed us in 2016, Cedar did not do any work in any respect. “I do not need him to ever do it to anybody else once more,” mentioned DeMarco of Westampton, Burlington County.

Cedar at the moment operates underneath the title PA-Concrete Works, which is predicated in Philadelphia. That was the enterprise title on Matt Snyder’s contract.

In 2020, Triolo employed him when he was utilizing the title Concrete Options.

In 2016, Jess DeMarco knew him as Cement Docs.

When the Troubleshooters first requested Cedar questions on his enterprise in 2016, he received into his car and drove away with out saying a phrase.

Two years later, in 2018, Cedar pleaded responsible to the DeMarco case in prison court docket.

Triolo needs she had recognized about that prison historical past and says if she had been conscious of that info, she wouldn’t have employed him.

Triolo herself ended up taking Cedar to civil court docket. “We received the judgment towards him,” she mentioned.

Snyder didn’t know concerning the Triolo case or the DeMarco case and employed Cedar 9 months after the judgement within the Triolo case was handed down.

“Would not look like lots has modified,” he mentioned.

Cedar accomplished Snyder’s job, however Snyder says he is disillusioned cracks appeared within the cement after simply a few months.

Cedar instructed the Troubleshooters he did the whole lot correctly and defended his work. However Triolo says, “It is only a disgrace that this continues to occur to different individuals.”

To guard customers from this sort of scenario, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania created a contractor registration system underneath the Residence Enchancment Shopper Safety Act. By regulation, contractors should register and supply their prison historical past, civil judgments, bankruptcies, and former enterprise names.

When the Troubleshooters examined the system, they uncovered main flaws. Whereas the state has necessary info, it is not sharing all of it with customers.

As an illustration, we regarded up the registration for Pa-Concrete Works, which is Cedar’s present enterprise. The database solely exhibits the enterprise title, residence enchancment contractor registration quantity and expiration date, tackle, and telephone quantity. It doesn’t present proprietor names or any background info.

These are particulars that customers have to make sound hiring selections. And the Troubleshooters discovered you possibly can’t get that info by telephone both.

The Pennsylvania Workplace of the Legal professional Normal maintains the house enchancment contractor registration system. When the Troubleshooters reached out with its findings, it thanked us for bringing these points to its consideration and mentioned its web site is being improved to be “extra user-friendly by way of looking out and figuring out contractors.” It additionally instructed us it talked to employees and was “assured that the knowledge contractors checklist of their registration software is made accessible to customers by telephone who name our workplace.”

As well as, it mentioned customers can get enterprise experiences by emailing [email protected]

The Troubleshooters did electronic mail for Cedar’s report however by no means received any response.

And the Troubleshooters examined the system with a second spherical of calls. We requested for any info on civil judgments, bankruptcies and prison historical past. However two totally different telephones representatives instructed us once more that they might not disclose that info.

The Pennsylvania Legal professional Normal’s Workplace responded to our second take a look at by saying, “We didn’t observe our personal protocols to supply contractor info, and we will do higher. We are going to proceed to attempt to do our greatest to help customers…”

Triolo instructed us, “They’re failing in that division with speaking to customers… It is horrible. It is completely horrible that it isn’t available.”

And the problems do not finish there. The Troubleshooters discovered one other downside with the registration database.

You possibly can’t search on-line by a contractor’s title. And that is an necessary search technique since, as evidenced by the case of Ray Cedar, contractors can and sometimes do change their enterprise names.

“It makes me very mad,” mentioned Triolo.

Then the Troubleshooters uncover yet one more challenge after we get Cedar’s enterprise report from the lawyer normal’s press workplace. The report is not correct. It doesn’t present Cedar’s prison offense associated to residence enchancment nor does it present the checklist of civil judgments towards him, together with Triolo’s. It additionally doesn’t present his prior enterprise names.

The Troubleshooters alerted the lawyer normal’s workplace to the inaccuracies on Cedar’s report repeatedly, however finally examine, it nonetheless hasn’t been totally fastened.

Cedar claims he stuffed out the registration kind as required. However Triolo instructed the Troubleshooters, “I feel it must be up to date,” she mentioned, “so what you are stepping into.”

Once we requested the lawyer normal’s workplace about Cedar’s enterprise report, it mentioned, “Sadly, because of the means the regulation was written, contractors need to disclose this info upfront. Too many don’t, and we discover discrepancies all too typically. There are main flaws within the regulation, and we’d like the legislature to take motion to make sure dangerous actors aren’t profiting from PA customers.”

The Troubleshooters might be taking the problem to legislators and can maintain you up to date on any potential adjustments to the system.

Meantime, from the Troubleshooters’ take a look at, we have decided the easiest way to attempt to get the knowledge you want is to name 1-888-520-6680. Our second spherical of calls did present {that a} telephone consultant will now at the very least seek for a contractor by title.

Full Assertion from Pennsylvania Legal professional Normal’s workplace:

“Our workplace constantly stands up for customers, however the legal guidelines on the books on this Commonwealth typically restrict our potential to take action. The Residence Enchancment Shopper Safety Act ought to be as refined because the scammers who make the most of it, and our workplace helps reforms to modernize this regulation and tackle its present shortcomings.

We attempt to present excessive public service, and on this case, we didn’t observe our personal protocols to supply contractor info, and we will do higher. We are going to proceed to attempt to do our greatest to help customers when making these essential, pricey selections and supply them essentially the most correct info accessible to help.

It will be important that customers know that not solely ought to they attain out to us to acquire contractor registration info, they need to do their very own analysis as nicely. If anybody has considerations concerning the accuracy of a contractor’s registration or is taken benefit of by a contractor, they need to file a grievance with our workplace.”

Sadly, because of the means the regulation was written, contractors need to disclose this info upfront. Too many don’t, and we discover discrepancies all too typically. There are main flaws within the regulation, and we’d like the legislature to take motion to make sure dangerous actors aren’t profiting from PA customers.”

Up to date Assertion from Pennsylvania Legal professional Normal as of Wednesday at 5:33p.m.

“What you skilled is unacceptable, our coverage is to supply the knowledge we’re allowed to confide in customers no matter how they contact our workplace.

Because of your inquiry, we’re within the technique of retraining our employees on learn how to deal with these sorts client inquiries and supply the knowledge we’ve got, permitting individuals to make knowledgeable selections about residence contractors.”

Hyperlinks

Pennsylvania
What are my rights?
Cuales son mis derechos
Adjustments to the regulation have an effect on customers & contractors

New Jersey
Hiring Residence Enchancment contractors
Residence Enchancment Contractor: FAQs

Delaware
Contractor Registration Act

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