The New York State Attorney General's Office has reached a settlement with over 200 home improvement contractors for violating the state's Home Improvements Contract Law.

The 211 contractors have signed an agreement to end their unlawful conduct and will pay penalties and fines after an investigation revealed widespread violations of the law, including failure to provide written contracts.

18 of the settlements were reached in the Utica area.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says homeowners need to know their rights and contractors must obey the law.

Consumers should take the following precautions when hiring home improvement contractors:

 

·         Be specific about what work you want done

·         Educate yourself about the required permits 

·         Shop around

·         Get references and check them

·         Get proof of insurance from the contractor

·         Check licenses (if required)

·         Never pay the full price upfront

·         Always put work to be done in writing

·         Know where your payments are going

 

If consumers feel they've been victimized by home improvement contractors, they can call the AG's Consumer Helpline at 1-800-771-7755.