Contractors - Disaster Alert
The aftermath of severe storm damage often results in an increase in consumer complaints resulting from contractor fraud or shoddy repairs by unlicensed contractors.
- Always ask to see a copy of a contractor’s license from the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR). You can visit DPOR's website to check for a valid contractor's license or call 804-367-8511. Any contractor seeking work through home solicitation must carry a solicitor license issued by the Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services.
- Check a contractor’s licensing credentials. Write down the license number, expiration date, name of the licensee, address and phone numbers. (Make sure the contractor has a current physical address, not a P.O. Box.)
- Find out how long the contractor has held a license and check for any disciplinary action taken by DPOR.
- Make sure the contractor has a personal liability insurance policy and verify it with the contractor’s insurance agent.
- Call the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Permits Branch, at 703-324-1555, TTY 711, to determine whether a permit is necessary for the intended work. Ask for information on each contractor’s licensing and disciplinary status.
- Obtain bids from three contractors, ask for three references from each, and find out if the contractor provided a monetary discount or payment in exchange for using a consumer as a reference.
- Insist on a detailed written contract with a start and completion date.
- Do not sign anything that you do not understand.
- Do not pay cash.
- Do not rely on verbal agreements.
- Do not pay more than 10 percent down and do not allow payments to get ahead of the work.
- Do not succumb to high pressure or scare tactics, over-friendly sales pitches, materials left over, or escalating prices.
- Search the Consumer Affairs Branch complaint history files online to locate any complaints previously filed against a contractor.