Better Call Jackson

Better Call Jackson: Sniffing out licensed and bonded lies

COLUMBUS (WCMH) -- How many times have you hired a company or individual to perform work on your property?  Are you confident any accidental damage to your property by the workers will be covered by insurance?

So often, consumers are reassured when a company tells them they are licensed and bonded. What does that really mean and how do you know the claim is true?

"if they're going out saying they're licensed and bonded and they are not, that could be a potential violation of our consumer sales practice or misrepresentation", says Mellissa Smith, the Director of  Consumer Affairs for the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

Better Call Jackson found out it can vary between municipalities on who is regulated and who is not. For example, in most areas, a contractor must be licensed but that is not the case with landscaping companies. Very few areas regulate lawn services. So what can you do if an unregulated company causes damage to your property and refuse to make you whole again? Simple, file a complaint with the Attorney General's office.

"Obviously, up front, we're just gonna ask them to cover the damage, whatever it is to make the consumer happy", says Smith.  Better Call Jackson contacted several local insurance companies and most will not provide coverage for contractors or landscaping companies until those businesses have been in operation for three years.

It's always best to work with a company that comes recommended, in those cases the company wants to uphold its reputation if there is a problem. If someone claims to be licensed and bonded, ask for documentation.


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