CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. As Con Edison restores power to homeowners in Cortlandt, many will begin contracting out repairs which they cannot repair themselves. Storm damage calls for services from arborists, landscapers and home repair contractors, all of whom are licensed by Westchester County.
People should be cautious, I cant stress that enough, said John Gaccione, Acting Director for the Westchester County Consumer Protection Department, Theres people whove been in the dark for a number of days, but dont fall victim to a scam or some other type of crime. People should be patient and work with their insurance company, he said.
The best way to begin any repair project, according to Gaccione, is to contact your homeowners insurance to see where youre covered. From there, selecting a licensed contractor from the Westchester County website is the next best step.
Landscapers, arborists, home repairs contractors, plumbers and electricians are all licensed by Westchester County, and can be looked up in their database . Westchester County maintains a list of Renegade Renovators , unlicensed contractors which have been and continue to be the source of many consumer complaints, says the consumer protection website.
The department also maintains a history of complaints lodged against particular companies, consumers should check these lists before hiring a contractor.
If consumers receive unsolicited phone calls, or knocks on the door, they should contact local authorities. Similarly, all contractors, and utility company employees, should be able to provide identification.
In Cortlandt, New York State Police, whose barracks are located beside the Cortlandt Train Station, can be contacted at (914) 737-7171. Cortlandt homeowners can also contact Westchester County Police, located next to the municipal building, on Heady Street in Cortlandt, at (914) 741-4400.
Westchester County Consumer Protection website and personnel have a wealth of information, and consumers are encouraged to call if they have more questions. The Westchester County Consumer Protection Department can be contated at (914) 995-2155.