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August, 2002

Nassau to Seize Trucks & Tools

Roger C. Bogsted, Commissioner of the Office of Consumer Affairs for Nassau County, announced a new departmental policy whereby investigators will now seize the vehicles and tools of unlicensed home improvement contractors who continue to ply their trade in violation of local law.

"This represents a new policy whereby we will seize the vehicles and tools of repeat offenders who continue to operate home improvement businesses without a license," stated Commissioner Bogsted. "Too often, our consumer homeowners are victimized by unlicensed contractors who take full or partial payment for work to be done and then do a partial job or fail to perform any service once they have the consumer's money in their hands. We will not allow this type of behavior to continue," continued Bogsted, "and we intend to debilitate these offenders to the point that they never work again in Nassau County."

Vasos Antoniou of 108 Westminster Road, West Hempstead, a repeat offender, was arrested and his truck seized when he falsely represented himself to an undercover investigator as a licensed home improvement contractor and agreed to provide work for which he was not licensed.

"License requirements protect both the contractors and the homeowner. Although a license is no guarantee that the contractor won't cause the homeowner problems, it is a safeguard that enhances the rights of the consumer while ensuring basic compliance by the contractor," stated Commissioner Bogsted.

All Nassau County residents who intend to have work done on their home should call the Office of Consumer Affairs at 516-571-2600 to determine if a particular contractor is licensed. Residents can obtain a six-year history of contractors under consideration that will include previous consumer complaints and resolutions to any problems.

"Licensed contractors must carry liability insurance, workers compensation, and we check them for their financial responsibility," Bogsted further stated. "Homeowners that use licensed contractors may be eligible for reimbursement from damages through the Consumer Affairs restitution fund. There are no such protections against unlicensed contractors."