A hot economy is a magnet for a lot of good things like business, jobs and talent. It can also attract people who want to make a quick buck -- and rip-off unknowing consumers in the process. Something state officials are seeing a lot of -- in the construction business.
Today, the Attorney General's Office files a Cease and Desist Order against the most recent alleged offender -- a company known as "Double Diamond Construction."
"This has become sort of a Mecca for these out-of-state contractors who want to come into the State, they don't want to comply with the laws and they want to quickly make a big buck and leave. So many of these situations could have been avoided if the consumers had asked if they have a contractor's license, and then verified that," says Parrell Grossman, Assistant Attorney General, and Director, Consumer Protection & Antitrust Division.
The Consumer Protection Division says they have "zero tolerance" for this sort of activity.
Since July of 2011, 89 such legal actions have been taken against unlicensed contractors, where previously, there were only about ten per year.
Here are some tips -- before you start writing checks to any contractor: Make sure they are licensed in North Dakota (www.nd.gov/sos); verify how long the business has been in North Dakota; check references from previous customers; get at least three bids; and report suspected fraud to the Attorney General's Office (www.ag.nd.gov).
If contractors perform work valued at $2,000 or more, they must be licensed with the Secretary of State's Office.
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