Consumers annually spend over $120 billion on home improvement projects. Unfortunately, say law enforcement officials, many of these consumers are victimized by unscrupulous or fraudulent contractors.
Because home improvement fraud consistently ranks as one of the top three complaints from consumers, the Federal Trade Commission, with the National Association of Home Builders Remodelors™ Council and the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, today announced a joint consumer education effort that will provide consumers with a tool kit to protect themselves and their homes.
"Many consumers dream of 'Home Sweet Home,'" said Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The dream, however, can turn into a nightmare if a remodeling project goes bad."
The kit, "Home Improvement: Tools You Can Use," offers tips consumers can use to head off problems in advance. For example, the Facts for Consumer brochure, "Home Sweet Home Improvement," offers tips about hiring a contractor; checking references; understanding payment options; and avoiding home improvement loan scams.
"The Commission is pleased that both the NAHB Remodelors™ Council and NACAA will distribute this kit to their members across the country, who in turn, will make the materials available locally to consumers and the news media. The FTC has posted the entire kit on its website at www.ftc.gov and will send copies to consumers who request them by calling our Consumer Response Center at 202-FTC-HELP," Bernstein noted.
Copies of the "Home Improvement: Tools You Can Use" are available from the FTC’s web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC- HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.