Pain in the Glass
Help Me Hank: Pain in the Glass
April showers were turning to May flowers when Eileen Offer and her husband moved into their new house last year and there was lots to do.
"We did a lot of painting, we did our floors, we did our kitchen. We were just doing everything new."
As the Fourth of July fireworks faded and leaves began to fall, Eileen knew her old creaky windows couldn't stand a Massachusetts winter.
"A lot of them are old and they need to be replaced."
So she hired a contractor to order and install the new windows -- someone she knew.
"He had done work with a licensed painter that we had in the house."
And thought she could trust.
"I felt totally comfortable with him."
She thought the deal was clear as glass, but as the snow began to fall, the contractor didn't show.
"It was a very cold winter and we were very frustrated."
Christmas, New Years and Valentine's passed -- she still didn't have her windows.
"We thought we'd never get the windows, ever."
So as she looked out at the spring flowers starting to bloom again, a new idea sprung up.
"Call Channel 7."
The state has strict and specific rules for home improvement contractors and there's a fund to pay back customers, who were ripped off. But if a deal goes bad, you must meet two requirements to get reimbursed from the fund.
Michael Caljouw, MA Office Of Consumer Affairs
"Get the deal in writing and also make sure you're dealing with a registered contractor."
Eileen's 0 for 2, her contractor wasn't registered and she only had a verbal agreement, but that still doesn’t mean the window guy can take the money and run.
So we dialed up the contractor…
Hank Phillippi Ryan, Investigative Reporter
"This is Hank Phillippi Ryan…"
And urged him to finish the job.
"Within a week, we had the windows."
And now with fireworks and barbecues on the way, Eileen can celebrate stress free. She knows she won't be left out in the cold when winter comes around.
"We were just happy we had the windows."
Before hiring home improvement help, do contact the office of consumer affairs, it can confirm the status of your contractors registration with the state.
If you're fighting a consumer battle, maybe I can help.
For more information on the Home Improvement Contractor Guaranty Fund visit the consumer affairs Web site. http://www.mass.gov/consumer/Pubs/homeimp.htm