. A major retailer where we purchased the window coverings gave me the name of a company in Bensalem, PA, and said they would be completing the installation. However, the man who came to install the coverings had only a local cell phone number.
At the suggestion of an investigator, I called the window installation company, and I asked how many employees they had. I was shocked to hear the owner say, “None–we subcontract all of our work.”
When I tried to check the man who actually come to my house, he was not registered at all in the Attorney General’s Home Improvement Company database.
Since he was a subcontractor, if he had been injured on my property, he was not covered by Worker’s Comp. Insurance, and he could have sued me. Or, worse yet, I could have shared the fate of Melissa Ketunuti and been murdered by a contractor. Probably unknown to her, the exterminator who entered Ms. Ketunuti’s home was a subcontractor of the company she called to do the work.
It is alleged that the subcontractor was not even registered through the Dept. of Agriculture to use chemicals commonly used by exterminators. We must learn to vet the people we hire. There are several ways to vet companies.
Check this newspaper’s listing of local retailers and the customer comments that are attached to the listing. Yelp, Google, Angie’s List and other services have customer ratings. For lawyers, there is Avvo and Martindale.
As mentioned above, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office has an online database of home improvement companies. Here, or at the link above, you can find the name of the company, the amount of insurance they carry, whether there have been any criminal convictions against the owners, bankruptcies where consumers might have lost money, any unresolved complaints, and more.
By the way, I finished our window covering installation myself. I may be getting old, but I am still fit.
Stay well until the next post,
Bob Gasparro is an Elder Practitioner (accountant and attorney). He can be reached at Robert.Gasparro@lifespanlegal.com or (484) 297-2050. Comments to this post, and ideas for future posts are welcome.