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Protecting your castle

Published January 18. 2014 09:00AM

Your home is your castle.

You eat there; sleep there; dance around in your underwear there. (Oh come on, you know you do.)

You raise your children, spend time with your friends and perhaps even work there.

You even grow old there.

Your home is important to you and being as such, you know the importance of taking care of your home; your castle.

When something breaks or wears out, you know the problem must be fixed; and in a proper manner.

If you are lucky, you have the skills to make those repairs on your own. But if you are like most of us, you rely on someone else to do it for you.

Enter "the contractor".

When it comes to hiring someone to make repairs to your castle, the contractor comes to you almost like a knight in shining armor.

You trust him. You rely on him. You place your beloved castle into what you believe to be are his honest and capable hands.

If he does what he is supposed to do and does it well, he is your hero.

If he fails to hold up his end of the bargain, does shoddy work and refuses to fulfill his knightly duties, he is ... a criminal.

These types of criminals prey on the elderly and the infirm; the less fortunate and anyone whom they think may not have the strength, the knowledge, the finances or the endurance to fight back against such dastardly deeds.

In the Panther Valley area alone, I know of multiple individuals and families who have lost money and/or have had additional problems with their castle resulting from improper or incomplete work performed by local contractors. For some of them, the complaints involve the same contractor.

So why is it that these people are still in business?

It's simple really.

When giving references, no contractor with half a brain will give you the names of people he screwed over.

He will give you the names of businesses or local municipalities that he has done wonderful work for during his career.

Smart move.

His victims feel not only a sense of frustration, loss and betrayal, but also a deep sense of hopelessness because they cannot afford or cannot physically, mentally or emotionally deal with going through the court process to recoup their money or have their problems resolved and he knows this.

Fear not, thou fine readers, there is hope.

The Office of the Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection is there to help you.

If you have been ripped-off by a home improvement contractor whether it was very recently or in recent years, you have the power to fight back and at no cost to you.

No longer should these predatory criminals be permitted to cash-in on their seemingly helpless victims and then move on to their next unsuspecting target.

Even if it happened five or 10 years ago, you can still file a complaint.

Eventually, the thieves, (which are exactly what they are) will either fly straight, lose their contractor's license or even end up behind bars which is probably where they belong anyway.

If you have been the victim of home improvement fraud, or know of someone who has, please, contact the OAGBCP at 717-787-9707.

It's time for these creeps to get their comeuppance.

Taking the time out to tell your story may not only help you to resolve your own problem, but will also help to protect others from falling prey to the same types of crimes.

Finally, to all of you honest, faithful and hard working contractors out there, we the people knight thee "Sir fix-a-lot," and we thank thee as well.

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