Expert Consumer Protection Advice

By Christian Heilman

Published 08/15 2014 05:37PM

Updated 08/15 2014 06:33PM

ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY -- The number one thing you can do to protect yourself is don't leave a stranger alone in your home.
Richard Lacovitch has been an HVAC technician for more than 20 years and knows that it can take time before people trust a stranger working in their home.
"It's hard to find a good company and once you find that company, you want to stick with them,” said Lacovitch.
He says it's important to know who you're dealing with. But if you don't, it's important to keep an eye on them.
"But you got somebody new I would recommend that you just stay in the room with them you know just to make sure they're doing what they need to be doing,” said Lacovitch.
Pay attention to the PA registration code on the side of the truck. You can look that number up online to make sure the company you hired is registered with the state.
Lacovitch said, "A lot of times you can go ahead and ask, ‘Who are you sending?’ That way you know ahead of time who is showing up."
Hollidaysburg Police Chief David Gehret says even if you're hiring someone you're not familiar with, make sure you do some checking.
"Always ask for references,” said Gehret. “Call the Better Business Bureau to see if they've had any complaints on this specific contractor."
Gehret and Lacovitch stress that you should make sure the company is insured and bonded too. That way when you bring people in, you won't have to worry.
Lacovitch said, "The more educated you are about what you're getting ahead of time, the better off you're going to be."
Richard says his best advice is that if a worker is doing something in your house that you don't understand, just ask what he’s doing.
You can look up those Pennsylvania registration code numbers by visiting the attorney general’s website here.

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