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Rockland County Issues Warning on Crooked Contractors: Family Scammed Out of $90K

Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Consumer Protection Director Kim Von Ronn are alerting residents to a surge in fraudulent contractor schemes targeting homeowners.

In a recent incident, a Rockland County family lost $90,000 to a contractor who promised yard renovations while the family was on vacation. The contractor never performed the work and has since disappeared. The Rockland County Office of Consumer Protection reports that over $200,000 has been lost to similar scams this year alone.

Such scams are unfortunately common, with an estimated 1 in 10 people falling victim to home improvement contracting fraud.

“These individuals can often be hard to catch, and the money stolen harder to reclaim, which is why I stress to our families that prevention is key,” said County Executive Ed Day. “A little amount of due diligence will go a long way to protecting yourself from falling victim.”

Consumer Protection Director Kim Von Ronn advises families to:

  • Steer clear of unsolicited contractors.
  • Always get a written contract.
  • Never pay until the job is complete.
  • Utilize licensed contractors.

“The benefits of contracting with a licensed vendor/contractor ensure a few things but first and foremost that the contractor is insured,” explained Von Ronn. “Without appropriate and adequate insurance coverage, if the contractor or their employee gets injured when working on a home, the homeowner can be responsible for damage or injury.”

Key points to remember when hiring a contractor include:

  • Every home improvement project over $250 requires a written contract.
  • Down payments should not exceed $1,000 or 15% of the contract price, whichever is less, unless otherwise stated and agreed upon in the contract.

The Office of Consumer Protection can assist with dispute mediation if conflicts arise between consumers and businesses. Complaints about poor workmanship or unlicensed vendors can lead to investigations and potentially bringing the responsible parties to Criminal Court. Rockland County Local Law Chapter 286-21(H), sponsored by County Executive Ed Day, allows the Office to impound vehicles in such scenarios.

In 2023, the Rockland County Office of Consumer Protection investigated 617 complaints and returned $66,000 to homeowners.

Residents with questions or concerns can contact the Office of Consumer Protection at (845) 364-3901 or by email at CPLCAL@co.rockland.ny.us.

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