- As consumers prepare their homes for colder
weather, the Division of Consumer Affairs
is advising homeowners to be alert for frauds
involving repairs to chimneys.
Division received 24 consumer complaints related
to chimney and fireplace repairs between September
2008 and August 2009.
is the busy season for cleaning chimneys and
removing creosote generated by wood-burning
fireplaces. It’s also the time of year
when consumers should be cautious when someone
offers to check their chimney and make repairs,”
said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director.
offering to perform chimney repairs must be
registered as a Home Improvement Contractor
under state law. Chimney sweeps who only clean
chimneys and do not perform repairs are not
required to register as Home Improvement Contractors.
can check whether someone is registered through
the Division of Consumer Affairs web site,
or by calling 1-800-242-5846
(toll-free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.
The web site is searchable by name of the
contractor and a ‘search by town’
feature allows consumers to locate contractors
in their community.
must be given a written contract that specifies
the work to be performed, the materials that
will be used and the total price, for any
home improvement project costing more than
always a good idea to obtain more than one
bid,” Szuchman said. “Multiple
bids allow consumers to verify that different
contractors are finding the same type of problem
when each performs an inspection,” he
should be alert to the following scenarios
as possible scams:
Someone comes unsolicited to your home,
offers to do a free inspection of your chimney
and offers a “special deal”
to fix an alleged problem
claims to be “working in the neighborhood”
and has leftover supplies to repair your
chimney but the work has to be done right
is unwilling to show you the problem area
and explain the problem in detail
consumer has the right to cancel a home improvement
contract within 72 hours of signing the contract,
under state law. A consumer should not feel
pressured into allowing work to begin immediately.
who have limited mobility and cannot climb
ladders should be cautious about claims of
loose bricks or missing mortar if someone
goes onto their roof to inspect the chimney.
also should make sure all required permits
have been issued by their municipal construction
code office prior to the contractor beginning