BOSTON (CBS) – A WBZ I-Team investigation found that home improvement giant Lowe’s had a company policy that required customers to pay in full for home improvement contracts before any work began. That policy violated Massachusetts law. The law states, for jobs over $1,000, contractors can only require a deposit of one-third the total contract price. That’s doesn’t include the cost of custom orders.
WBZ brought the Lowe’s contracts to the office of Consumer Affairs who then reached out to Lowe’s and the company agreed to change its contract. “Lowe’s has agreed to change the contract and they should not be, in any store, here in Massachusetts requiring 100% up front,” John Chapman, Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs told us.
When asked what’s so dangerous about giving all the money upfront Chapman responded, “I think what’s dangerous is that a contractor can walk off the job, he can do shoddy work, there’s no, sort of, incentive for them to do things correctly.”
Since our story aired we have heard from viewers who just recently signed contracts and paid in full before Lowe’s made the change to comply with state law. If this applies to you, Consumer Affairs recommends going back to Lowe’s to ask for a new contract.
In a statement Lowe’s tell us “Lowe’s stands behind the products and services we sell. We’re committed to helping our customers with questions or concerns they may have about any service or product, including installations, they’ve bought from Lowe’s. Customers who have concerns can contact us directly at any time by telephone (800-445-6937) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org We are clarifying language in our installation contracts and are continuing to work with employees to increase understanding of payment collection.”
If you’d like to speak with someone at the Massachusetts office of Consumer Affairs call 617-973-8787.
This story started with a tip. If you’d like to contact the ITeam email us at email@example.com or call 617-779-TIPS.