Contractor fraud has been rampant in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, with the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs having received 600 complaints about contractors since the storm struck.
In some home-repair cases, licensed contractors were making inflated estimates, getting paid and then abandoning the projects before completion, according to lawyers and advocates working with storm victims. In others, unlicensed contractors would accept a payment for a project and then flee. As a result, many storm victims are living in partially repaired homes or have uninhabitable homes, a full year after the storm.
Roughly two-thirds of these complaints were about unlicensed contractors, whom the city cannot even penalize with a fine or by revoking a license, a DCA spokesperson told DNAinfo.
“Now that more people are in the process of making repairs, we expect that the number [of complaints] may rise, and we want New Yorkers to come to DCA if they need help,” spokesperson Abigail Lootens said, and emphasized the importance of using a licensed contractor. [DNAinfo] – Hiten Samtani