Senate passes consumer protection bill aimed at home contractors

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Senate passes consumer protection bill aimed at home contractors

Wed, 01/26/2022 - 4:05pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine On Wednesday, the Vermont Senate passed H.157, a consumer protection bill that creates a "light-touch" registration system for home contractors who contract with a homeowner for a project costing $3,500 or more. 

Vermont homeowners will now have a registry to check to make sure the home contractor they plan to do business with is registered with the state and in good standing (that is, they haven’t engaged in unprofessional conduct, such as defrauding other customers). 

Governor Scott ultimately would need to sign the bill for it to become law.

Homeowners will also be able to log a complaint with the Office of Professional Regulation (OPR). If it is found that a contractor commits unprofessional conduct, OPR will be able to restrict or revoke a registration.

Legislators also heard broad support from contractors who testified that the requirements of this bill are simple, would support those who already play by the rules, and would help them too when they have a dispute with a homeowner. 

“Lack of consumer protection around home-improvement services has been a real burden for Vermonters,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint. “The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection (CAP) Office lists it as one their top areas of complaint. From 2012 -2017 CAP received 587 consumer complaints about home-improvement services, with claimed losses exceeding $3.1 M. We know these financial losses are significant for hard working families, and few can go to court because the high legal costs outweigh whatever judgment they might receive. This bill will offer more protection to homeowners and more options for recouping damages.” 

Source: MONTPELIER, VT – Vermont Senate 1.26.2022