Attention Maryland and Washington DC homeowners! What you do not know about remodeling contractors and the laws that dictate their behavior could be catastrophic!
A "mystery" in Maryland and Washington DC?
A "special exempt status" exists with some remodeling contractors in what is normally believed to be a safe haven for consumers with an abundance of regulations.
Consider the next TRUE ONGOING SITUATIONS.......Both are known to "the authorities" and a "green light/free pass" has been given to the offending parties. (Both of which are long established operations with over 25 years in business.)
A currently working "Sales Manager", who was convicted federally and sentenced for contractor and insurance fraud in several States, knowing hires unlicensed sales reps in Maryland .
Should such an individual, who had his Maryland Contractor's/ Salesperson's license revoked, and who was convicted of "contractor and insurance fraud" in several States be allowed to work as a residential remodeling sales manager?
What is the resulting impact of multiple illegal sales reps currently working in Maryland and the District of Columbia?
Consider the actual implications of of an illegal (criminal) sales manager hiring an illegal unlicensed sales rep. Recently a Maryland homeowner, upon learning of the excessive price he paid for average windows and the documented criminal past of the sales manager as well as the illegal status of the unlicensed sales rep, sought to cancel the transaction. When he attempted to get his deposit returned he recieved a profanity filled verbal assault from the before-mentioned sales manager seeking to save the illegally made sale. This outrage was followed by an almost unbelievable threat of legal action AGAINST THE HOMEOWNER!
When the homeowner brought all these facts to the attention of the Maryland Home Improvement Commission he was told that "Maryland does not have the time or resources to prosecute these matters". Suffice to say that the before-mentioned illegal sales manager has been further emboldened by this apparent approval by the State of Maryland.
A well established home improvement contractor in metro Washington DC/Maryland makes it a practice to hire unlicensed sales reps both in Maryland and Washington DC. The current sales manager has proudly stated that he does not need a DC sales license even though he has sales appointments there several times a week with multiple deals being sold each month illegally. The owner knows this and willingly ignores this law as well as ALL EPA regulations and frequent permit issues. In addition to pulling unauthorized customer credit reports and basing sales compensation on gouging unsuspecting homeowners, the owner also has stated that he is exempt from DC laws because he's in MD and due to the fact (a direct and offensive quote follows) "It's a jungle in DC". Other issues of workplace fraud are also documented and ongoing.
Each week several homeowners in DC are visited by the illegal sales manager with sales being made. The story continues with unlicensed sales reps in Maryland making multiple illegal sales as well. Aside from the economic impact this activity has on legally operated remodeling companies (no payment of social security taxes for example), the potential harm to innocent homeowners is all too real.
Although outrageous criminal conduct is known throughout human history, it's defacto acceptance in Maryland and The District of Columbia (Capitol of what otherwise great Country?) by the institutions and individuals entrusted to protect the public is certianly a matter of great shame that should be corrected.
Attention Replacement Contractors! Is it possible to sell a modest window project and be open INDEFINITELY to a $32,000 fine? If the house was built before 1978,the answer is YES. You need to give the homeowner a copy of the EPA "lead paint" brochure AND have proof that you complied with this law. Fortunately you can get that document FREE here!
What steps can a homeowner take to be protected from illegal, criminal sales reps?
Before scheduling a sales estimate the homeowner should ask this ONE SPECIFIC QUESTION: "What is the name and sales license number of the rep who will be visiting my home?"
ANY reply other than the direct answer is reason NOT to make the appointment, period!
In Maryland, as well as the The District of Columbia homeowners should BEWARE of phrases such as:
"He/she doesn't need a license"* or "The company has a contractor license so the rep does not need a license" * or "Our rep is using the company's license" * or "Our rep is taking the license test or applying next week"
Anything but the proper, legitimate reply to the question should be viewed as a RED FLAG!
*Some States like Virginia, as well as others, do not require a separate occupational license to act as a salesperson, so questions regarding the business license and insurance coverages are important and need to be addressed before any other action shold be taken on a home improvement project.
Remember, in some parts of the USA there is NO HELP available to homeowners who mistakenly place themselves, their family and home in perril, so the homeowner must act as enforcer against a well seasoned, experienced potential predator who expects no punishment for illegal acts.
Did you know that in such States requiring licensing of sales reps, there is no accountability? Some of the largest remodeling contractors in Maryland harass salespeople with admin fees etc but neglect the legally required licensing of sales reps !
How about another "dirty little secret"? Your salesperson gets hurt in your house, who pays? Even if the installers are insured the sales rep is probably not.
If you are in Maryland or Washington DC did you know any of these stunning facts?
Home Improvement Watchdog ON GUARD at ALL TIMES!
Do you know how to buy home improvements?
here are some tips:
Choose WHAT you want fixed/replaced.
Choose WHO you can trust to do the job properly.
Get your price and "cut a deal".
Shopping around for 400 different prices and estimates does not guarantee the "best job at best price". It is far more advantegous to hire a reputable contractor than it is to "reinvent the wheel" in an attempt to get something for nothing.
Frequently the cause of a home improvement project gone bad stems from this proven fact.
Know what you want, know who you want and know that the HOME IMPROVEMENT WATCH DOG.com is always on guard!