A dozen contractors in New Jersey face criminal and civil charges after the state Division of Consumer Affairs, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and Lyndhurst Police Department teamed up on the “Irene Undercover House” project to identify home improvement contractors who haven’t registered with the Division.
Following Hurricane Irene, investigators set themselves up in a storm-damaged house, posing as homeowners inviting contractors to give them repair estimates.
According to the release from the Division of Consumer Affairs, many contractors came, some without tools, to toss out estimates. Eight face criminal charges and four others have civil Notices of Violation.
The sting was set up to find noncompliance with the New Jersey’s Contractors’ Registration Act and Advertising Regulations. Those guidelines require contractors to demonstrate they have a legitimate business address and at least $500,000 in liability insurance before they can register with the Division of Consumer Affairs. Additionally, work exceeding $500 must be explained in clear language.
You can see photos of the Irene Undercover House on the Division of Consumer Affairs website.