I've always been a do-it-yourself kind of homeowner. When a problem comes my way – whether it's a leaky drain, a broken air conditioner or an issue with my home heating, I've found that while it may take longer to grab the reins and tackle the issue on my own, it's been a beneficial investment that's helped me avoid some of the headaches I hear about from readers on a daily basis.
And while this may be just a self-fulfilling prophecy (where I'm looking for information to validate my viewpoint), new information from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs seems to indicate residents in the state may benefit from adopting similar practices.
The state agency indicated that home improvement issues – the kind that typically originate due to problems with contractors and other professionals – topped a 2011 list of consumer complaints. Overall, consumers in New Jersey lodged nearly 1,000 complaints against these professionals during that year, which was down from the 1,400 observed in 2010.
Motor vehicle and debt collection complaints finished second and third in the rankings, respectively, according to reports.
"Consumer complaints are a key tool that our investigators use to detect violators of the state Consumer Fraud Act and in identifying emerging scams targeted at consumers," the state's Attorney General, Jeffrey Chiesa, said in response to the statistics.
As a result, when tackling their home cooling problems this summer, consumers around the country may want to get ahead of these issues by getting familiar with their electric fans and air conditioners. By learning how to make simple repairs, they could relive themselves from the stress and hassle of working with a professional who is simply out to take their money.