Press Release

Alaska Attorney General's Advice for NCPW 2013: Be Wary of Home Improvement Scams

March 4, 2013

ANCHORAGE, AK - The Alaska Attorney General’s Office joins with government agencies, advocacy organizations, and private sector groups nationwide to celebrate National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 3-9, 2013.

For the past 15 years, the NCPW coalition has worked together to share tips and information about consumer fraud, privacy protection, money and debt management, and identity theft.

This year, the focus for NCPW in Alaska is on avoiding home improvement scams and rip-offs, such as:

  • Paving scams: Contractors who offer “special deals” on driveway paving or sealcoating because they claim to have leftover material from a nearby job. You’ll probably pay more for a poor job.
  • Shady door-to-door alarm system sellers. They use high pressure sales tactics and hide key contract terms like the length of the contract, “auto-renewal” provisions, or requirements for cancellation.
  • Unlicensed contractors, especially those who take upfront payments and then fail to do the work, or do shoddy work.

The Consumer Protection Unit urges homeowners to avoid doing business with contractors who: solicit door-to-door; pressure you for an immediate decision; refuse to provide a written contract or don’t give you time to review a lengthy contract; offer a discount for finding other customers; or refuse to provide references or details about registration, insurance, and bonding.

Under state law, general contractors must have a business license, a certificate of registration, a bond, and insurance. Residential and specialty contractors have additional requirements. To see if a contractor is properly licensed, search the Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing’s webpage or call the Division at (907) 269-8160. Complaints about unlicensed construction contractors can be filed with the Department of Labor &Workforce Development, (907) 269-4925 or email: Anchorage.LSS-MI@alaska.gov.  Read more from the Department of Labor:

Before You Hire a Contractor - PDF 250K

Alaska Contractor Licensing - PDF 161K

For details about a recent case brought by the State of Alaska against a paving contractor, read the complaint in State v. Gorman (PDF 112K). For information about home improvement and other consumer issues, or to file a complaint about unfair or deceptive business practices, visit the Consumer Protection Unit’s website or call 269-5200 (toll free, 888-576-2529) or email consumer@alaska.gov.

For more information about NCPW, go to www.ncpw.gov. As part of NCPW, representatives from the Federal Trade Commission and USA.gov are hosting a live Twitter chat at 10am Alaska/2pm EST on March 6. Learn more at: http://go.usa.gov/2cpj

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