N.J. lawmaker aims to close loophole allowing price gouging on Sandy repairs

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to prevent Sandy victims from being ripped off by unscrupulous contractors.

New Jersey already has a law requiring home improvement contractors to provide a written contract for work that costs more than $500 as well as a clear indication of just what will be done.

Removal of water-damaged materials and mold remediation is not covered under that law, said state Sen. Jen Beck, R-Monmouth.

Beck, who has introduced legislation to close that loophole, said some out-of-state companies have been overcharging by as much as 500 percent for the work.

“In some of these cases, consumers were verbally given a scope of work and verbally given a price and never got anything in writing,” she said. “Then the contractor turned around and said, ‘Oh, I told you $12,000? It’s actually going to be $50,000.'”

Beck says the state attorney general’s office is to trying to get compensation from contractors for the homeowners who were overcharged.

“There are thousands of people that are just getting their flood insurance money. There are many who didn’t have flood insurance who are waiting on the grants coming out of the state Department of Community Affairs, so this is definitely not too late,” she said of her proposal.

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