HARRISBURG (KDKA) – If you have a problem with home contractors, you’re not alone.

“It, like, takes forever to get them to come and do the work,” homeowner Sara Galante said.

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And if you finally get a contractor to show up, the work’s not done right.

Homeowner Bob Dickinson says they were “contracted to have the basement done a certain way, and it was never finished.”

And then the bill.

“[They] say it’s going to cost this much, and then the hours were way more than what it was originally supposed to be, so it costs you a lot more,” homeowner Debbie Phillips said.

The agreed-upon price suddenly jumps up.

Now, Attorney General Kathleen Kane is beefing up efforts to protect consumers from unscrupulous home contractors, filing actions against eight contractors, including two in this area to assess penalties and force money back to consumers.

“We have a unit specifically devoted to the registration of home improvement contractors,” Senior Deputy Attorney General Jesse Harvey said, “so that office is staffed by two attorneys, couple of agents, couple of clerical people.”

Harvey says the goal is to enforce the state’s Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act against contractors.

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“They’re always out there, every summer,” Harvey said. “This time of year, we always get complaints.”

And the AG’s Bureau of Consumer Protection wants to know if you have a bad experience with a contractor.

“We are really dependent on consumers getting in touch with our office, letting us know what’s out there, what they’re experiencing,” Harvey added.

Harvey says it puts issues on their radar screen — and sometimes the AG can get money back for homeowners.

But it’s always better to take time to choose a reputable contractor.

“You should do some homework, seek some bids, some references, see if he is registered with our office. Check with the Better Business Bureau — see if they have a record of him.”

And don’t forget: all home improvement contracts over five hundred bucks must be in writing — and you get three days to cancel.

Consumers can check to see if their contractors are registered with the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection by visiting www.attorneygeneral.gov or by calling 1-800-520-6680.

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