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What to do if You Been Scammed by a Contractor
Following up a recent post about Construction Scams I have realized why contractors can continue to get away with bad business for so many…
Following up a recent post about Construction Scams I have realized why contractors can continue to get away with bad business for so many years and still have a license or not be in jail. The simple truth is that very few people take the time to report fraudulent activity or pursue losses in the court system. This in itself speaks volumes to the human psyche and the faith in the legal system. I myself don’t want to spend time and money going after a loss and would prefer to move forward. What this common reaction does is allows criminals to continue to defraud more people in and endless cycle.
To help those harmed by malicious business practices I have compiled this list of resources to help those who feel their responsibility to the greater good to call out bad actors and to go after their losses. This is for cases specifically in Utah but all states have similar organizations you can find in a simple online search.
Utah Department of Professional Licensing
In most states every contractor is required to hold a professional license and a license bond. If you have suffered financial loss on your project, you can seek to get damages against the license bond if they hold one. The Utah Department of Professional Licensing is responsible for issuing and regulating licenses for a wide range of professions and industries in Utah, including contractors. If you have had poor quality work or been scammed by a contractor, it is important to contact the Utah Department of Professional Licensing and file a complaint against the license. Their contact information is as follows:
Tel: (801) 530–6628
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit organization that provides consumers with information and ratings on businesses, including contractors. While online reviews have largely replaced the BBB’s role in reviewing and reporting, the BBB still has a lot of clout. If you have had a negative experience with a contractor, it is recommended to make a bad review on any site the company is listed to warn other potential customers. However, you can also file a complaint with the BBB. Their website is www.bbb.org.
Utah State Labor Commission
If employees have not been paid by a contractor, they can seek damages from the Utah State Labor Commission. The Utah State Labor Commission is responsible for enforcing labor laws in Utah, including wage and hour laws. If you are an employee who has not been paid by a contractor, you can contact the Utah State Labor Commission using the following information:
Utah Attorney General’s Office
The Utah Attorney General’s Office is responsible for enforcing the law in Utah and protecting consumers from fraudulent and deceptive practices. If you have been the victim of a construction scam, you can contact the Utah Attorney General’s Office to file a complaint. Their contact information is as follows:
Department of Commerce, Consumer Protection Division
The Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Commerce is a great place to start if you have questions related to consumer protection in Utah. Upon contacting them, they can refer you to the appropriate agencies listed above. The Department of Commerce is responsible for promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Utah. Their website is www.commerce.utah.gov.
Civil or Small Claims Court
If you have suffered a loss related to a construction scam, you can file a civil suit or small claims in Utah. For information on the process and how to file, please visit the Utah Courts Website and talk with an attorney. The Utah Courts Website provides information on the court system in Utah and how to file a lawsuit. Their website is www.utcourts.gov.
Federal Bureau of Investigations
If homeowners were being defrauded by a contractor working with an out-of-state lending company, there are laws in place that were violated, particularly for wire fraud. You can make a complaint to the FBI on their website. The FBI is responsible for investigating federal crimes in the United States. Their website is tips.fbi.gov.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The FTC is a federal agency that investigates complaints related to fraudulent or deceptive business practices. The homeowner can file a complaint online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#&panel1-1.
In order to protect the public from con artists and scams it is important for each of us to do our part in bringing people to justice. For me as a licensed contractor it pains me to see how many shady contractors are out there taking advantage of people and giving the profession a bad name.
I am available to help other contractors and homeowners to perform background checks on contractors and offer this service. You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or want any further information.