Philadelphia Home Contractor Fraud Lawyer
Consumer Protection Lawyer Helping Clients with Home Contractor Fraud Claims throughout Philadelphia, PA
Every homeowner needs to hire a contractor at some point to perform necessary repairs or a home improvement project. As with anyone you hire to perform a service, you expect your home contractor will deal with you in an honest, above-the-board manner. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Indeed, home contractor fraud is one of the leading sources of consumer complaints in the Philadelphia area.
When a contractor provides false or misleading information, that is not just an honest mistake. It is a deliberate attempt to get you to enter into a contract without understanding–and agreeing to–all of the relevant terms in advance. If you have been the victim of such practices you need to speak with a qualified Philadelphia home contractor fraud lawyer who can review your situation and provide you with legal options.
How Pennsylvania Law Protects You Against Home Contractor Fraud
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has specific laws addressing home contractor and home improvement fraud. Under the Pennsylvania Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act, any agreement with a home contractor must be in writing to be legally enforceable. The written agreement must contain the “entire agreement” between you, as the homeowner, and the contractor. At a minimum, the contract should also include a description of the work that needs to be performed, approximate starting and completion dates, and any specifications “that cannot be changed without a written change order” signed by you and the contractor. And obviously, the contract must list “total sales price due,” with a separate line item for any down payment.
Many Pennsylvania home contractors may attempt to put language into a contract limiting your legal rights to sue in the event of a dispute. For example, there may be a clause mandating arbitration. Such clauses are only enforceable under the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act if it complies with certain requirements are met. Additionally, there are other types of clauses that are voidable by you as the owner, that is to say that cannot be enforced against you unless you consent. Examples of voidable clauses include a “hold harmless” clause absolving the contractor of all liability, a waiver of the contractor’s obligation to follow applicable building codes, or any waiver of your rights under the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act.
Finally, as the homeowner you have the legal right to rescind a home improvement contract–without penalty–within three business days of signing.
Contact a Philadelphia Home Contractor Fraud Lawyer
Even with a written contract, there are many scenarios where you may have a case from home contractor fraud. Perhaps you paid the contractor in full and he walked out in the middle of the job. Or maybe the contractor damaged your property while completing a job and refuses to correct the problem. Or you may be the victim of excess billing–i.e., the contractor falsely claims she needed to order “special materials” at a higher price than you agreed to in the written contract.
If you have any reason to believe that you were the victim of home contractor fraud, you need to speak with an attorney who understands the law in this area. Contact Louis S. Schwartz and his Philadelphia home contractor fraud legal team if you need advice and assistance today.