07 Jul DA Offers Tips On Preventing Contractor Fraud
Thibodaux, La. – With summertime beginning and the likelihood for home building projects increasing, Lafourche Parish District Attorney Kristine Russell is offering Lafourche residents a few tips to help safeguard against contractor fraud.
- References – Get references and speak to those who hired potential contractors in the past. Ask them about the quality of the work done and whether the work was completed in a timely manner.
- Estimates – Get several estimates for comparison. Make sure estimates include the total price, materials being used, payment timetable and a project completion date.
- Verification – Verify the contractor is licensed in Louisiana to do the work you want done by visiting lacontractor.org, downloading the La Contractor mobile app, or by calling the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors (LSLBC) at 1-800-256-1392. Having a verified, licensed contractor doing the work offers you protection. In order to receive the license, a contractor had to satisfactorily complete testing that gages competency and proficiency. In addition, the LSLBC will have a record of the contractor, which helps in holding them accountable. Lastly, a licensed contractor is required to have insurance, which helps protect you from liability. You can verify the insurance is still active by asking the contractor for current insurance certificates.
- Contract – Have a written contract that details the work being done, the materials being used, equipment being installed, when payments are due, and when the work will be completed. Any changes should be in writing.
- Payment – DO NOT make a full or large payment before the work is completed. A down payment should be minimal. It may be helpful to have, in writing, a payment plan based on completion of construction milestones. Once a payment is made, the contractor has 45 days to begin the work unless the contract specifies a longer period of time.
- Monitor – Check the progress of the work regularly. Make sure the materials agreed upon to be used are actually being used.
- Records – Keep all the documentation related to your building project. This includes contracts, written changes, bills and invoices, receipts, and any other related documents. You should also take pictures of the project at various stages of completion.
“Whether it’s an addition, remodel, new build or repair work being done to your home, slowing down and taking the time to follow these seven tips is a great way to help protect yourself against contractor fraud,” said Assistant District Attorney Lisa Pinho, special prosecutor for contractor fraud.
If you live in Lafourche parish and suspect you are a victim of contractor fraud, you can contact the Lafourche Parish District Attorney’s Office at 985-447-2003 and ask to speak with ADA Lisa Pinho. District Attorney Russell has made her office available to help the residents of Lafourche and to hold those who commit contractor fraud accountable.
For additional resources, visit the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors website at www.lslbc.louisiana.gov.