Unregistered Home Improvement Contractors Being Cited Following
Undercover Investigation by Consumer Affairs
NEWARK – Consumer Affairs investigators who used a vacant Morris County house as a residence in need of major renovations are issuing Notices of Violations to twelve home improvement contractors for violations of the State’s Contractors’ Registration Act (CRA).
The undercover operation took place over the summer at a vacant Morris Plains home that the State’s Division of Consumer Affairs had obtained through the assistance of Morris County. Undercover investigators contacted suspected unregistered contractors to come to the residence, inspect it, and provide estimates for various improvements. The contractors were identified through print and online advertisements.
The proposed home improvement work included driveway repaving, basement renovations and waterproofing, installation of new wood floors, bathroom renovations, masonry repairs, and installation of a new fence. The estimates for projects ranged from $1,180 to $14,000.
The CRA, which took effect on January 1, 2006, requires all contractors performing residential work to register annually with the Division of Consumer Affairs. In order to register, contractors are required to disclose where their business is located, provide proof they have insurance, and use contracts containing specific consumer protection language for all projects costing more than $500.
“The contractors’ registration law took effect nearly five years ago, so ignorance of the law is no excuse,” Attorney General Paula T. Dow said. “Homeowners can spend thousands of dollars on home repairs and renovations and I am committed to rooting out phony contractors and unregistered contractors who attempt to rip off consumers.”
The undercover operation resulted in eight home improvement contractors receiving Notices of Violations for being unregistered. An additional four contractors are being cited for being registered but not displaying their registration numbers to the public as required. Two other contractors are receiving warning letters for minor violations of the CRA.
“Homeowners throughout the state continue to fall prey to home improvement contractors operating outside the law,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the Division of the Consumer Affairs. “Knowing that the company is legitimately registered helps to ensure that it’s not a fly-by-night operation, that it’s properly insured, and that there’s someone accountable should the repair or renovations go wrong.”
There are approximately 43,000 registered home improvement contractors statewide.
The following eight contractors are receiving a Notice of Violation for being unregistered. Each is being assessed a $5,000 civil penalty, with the option of having the penalty reduced to $1,000 if a registration application is submitted by December 3.
• Costello Sealcoating and Paving Mine Hill, N.J.
• Decorative Concrete/Wyatt Concrete Hillsborough, N.J.
• Eurocraft Middlesex, N.J.
• Andrew Realmonte Pine Brook, N.J.
• Neil’s Custom Masonry address being verified
• Handyman Mike Rotolo Warren, N.J.
• Ted’s Home Improvement Services Park Ridge, N.J.
• Cacciola Iron Works Paterson, N.J.
The following four contractors are registered but are receiving Notices of Violation for failing to display their Home Improvement Registration number on contracts, in advertisements, and/or on their vehicles, as legally required. Each is being assessed a $500 civil penalty.
• Bergen-Essex B&E Contractors Nutley, N.J.
• Tom Dakake d/b/a Accurate Contractors Haskell, N.J.
• Deegan Roofing Co. Plainfield, N.J.
• Water Plus, Inc.
(d/b/a American A-1 Waterproofing) Haledon, N.J.
The following two contractors are registered and are being issued warning letters for using incomplete or incorrect registration numbers.
• Jersey Partners/East Rutherford Roofing Little Falls, N.J.
• Castillo Roofing Plus
(d/b/a/ Castillo Home Improvements LLC) Paterson, N.J.
All of these contractors have the option to contest the Notice of Violation by requesting an administrative hearing with the Division of Consumer Affairs.
The Division has an online database of registered home improvement contractors that the public can access to verify whether a contractor is registered. The database can be found at http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/LVinfo.htm. Consumers can also call 973-273-8090 to access the Division’s license verification system.
Consumers are asked to report any suspected unregistered home improvement contractor to the Division via its web site, http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll-free within N.J.) or 973-504-6200.