Hiring licensed contractors can protect home investment

Published 9:10am Monday, June 24, 2013

A reputable business typically lists a number in the local directory, and most top-notch contractors don’t have time to go door-to-door to drum up more work for themselves.

In addition, common scams include the lost check scam, in which the contractor claims to have lost a check and then requests a second one and cashes both.

The county building inspection department and the Consumer Protection Section of the Department of Justice, at 919-733- 7741, can say whether serious complaints have been levied against a specific contractor, and it’s worth it to do that research.

Unlicensed contractors also run a risk if they do more than $30,000 of work, because if the homeowner fails to pay, an unlicensed contractor can’t recover the money in the courts.

The three types of licenses are limited, to $350,000; intermediate, to $750,000; and unlimited. If a contractor has a cost overrun above the limit of his or her license, and the homeowner doesn’t pay up, the contractor has no recourse in the courts.

Details count, too. In one case, a contractor inadvertently signed his own name to the contract, and his license was under his company’s name. A legal wrangle ensued as to whether he had rights to his costs.

“Most of my contractors are really conscientious about what they’re doing,” Jones said.

To find out if a general contractor has a license, phone 919-571-4183 or look up the website at www.nclbgc.net/lic_fr.html. Plumbing and heating inspectors will be listed at 919-875-3612 or www.nclicensing.org/OnlineReg.htm. To discover if an electrician has a license, call 919-733-9042 or lookup.ncheec.org.

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