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NYC Consumer Affairs Has Advice About Home Contractors

(file / credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(file / credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - With home improvement season in full swing, the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs has some advice to those homeowners looking to have some work done.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb On The Story

DCA teams swept through neighborhoods and discovered one in five home improvement contractors were working without a license, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

“When they were operating illegally, we have the power to seize their vehicles and tools immediately and that’s just what we did. We then get their attention. They come in. They pay some hefty fines,” DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz told Lamb.

“When you hire an unlicensed contractor, you don’t know what their background is. You don’t know whether they have criminal histories, which DCA would have caught when they applied. You don’t know whether they have references, complaint histories that have been lodged with the city,” Mintz said.

Mintz said it’s never a good deal to hire an unlicensed contractor.

“You could end up getting lousy work and what’s bad about this particular scenario is not just that you’d have to undo it or fix it, but that these businesses aren’t going to be accountable. They’re not going to have to answer to a DCA mediator. They’re not necessarily going to answer the phone when you call them. They might disappear,” Mintz said.

In the last year, DCA has conducted 755 inspections throughout the City, issuing nearly 400 violations, seizing 134 vehicles and revoking or suspending more than 60 licenses. The Department also secured more than $3.6 million in restitution for consumers.

If you have a consumer complaint, the city encourages you to call 311.