Contractors come in handy when a person is looking to upgrade their home or even repair an area that suffered damage from a storm or natural disaster. But all contractors aren’t created equal. In fact, there are some contractors out there who will convince a customer that they can complete a task, accept payment for it, and then put off the job until they are never heard from again.
Because it is illegal for contractors to accept funds for a job and intentionally avoid completing it, they can face criminal charges if caught. In fact, a contractor in New Hampshire was arrested on July 31, 2020, after he received $1,500 on August 22, 2019, from a woman identified as J.S. to design and install a septic system on her property. The Insurance Journal says Brian Jeffery Strouth “purposely used unfair or deceptive acts or practices, including but not limited to, falsely stating to J.S. that he intended to install a septic system, making ongoing misrepresentations to J.S. as to why he could not install the system, and presenting a forged septic permit application to J.S.”
The source says that around mid-September in 2019, Strouth created a state permit application for a sewage disposal system “with the purpose to defraud” and used the funds he received for unrelated purposes. Strouth was scheduled to be arraigned on August 13th and has been charged with the following:
- A class-A felony count of theft by unauthorized taking.
- One class-A felony count of theft by deception.
- One class-A misdemeanor charge of unfair or deceptive business practices.
- One class-B misdemeanor charge of forgery.
How to choose the right contractor to repair your home?
If your home suffered damage and is in need of repairs and you are looking to hire a contractor in New Hampshire based on your own search or recommendations provided by your insurer, remember to do some research before paying anyone to complete the job. Some things you should consider doing before hiring a contractor or allowing your insurer to choose someone include:
- Check to see if the contractor is licensed in the field in which they are performing the work (i.e. plumbing, electric, etc.). You can visit New Hampshire’s Online Licensing website to look up a license number or contact the agency via the online help form.
- Steer away from contractors who require a large deposit. Progressive says that each state has its own laws that govern how much a contractor can ask for up-front, which is typically between 10% and 30%.
- Steer clear of contractors who say a contract is not necessary. A contract is your form of proof that outlines what work will be done, the timeframe in which it needs to be completed, and how much the job will cost. If a contractor doesn’t want to put this in writing, chances are, he/she may not be the right person to complete the job.
Now, if the contractor you hired did a shoddy job or failed to complete the job and your insurer has paid them, you do need to contact a New Hampshire insurance claims lawyer. A NH insurance claims attorney can also help you if you used your own money to pay a contractor to repair your home and your insurer denied your claim.