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FAQs

Please view frequently asked questions below:

 

Credit


Q. How do I obtain a copy of my credit report?

A. Under the Massachusetts credit reporting law, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once per calendar year. You are also entitled to a free report every time you are denied credit. To obtain a copy of your credit report, you should contact the three major credit reporting agencies at the following toll-free numbers: Trans Union (800) 888-4213 Experian (888) 397-3742 Equifax (800) 685-1111.

Q. What do I do if information on my credit report is incorrect?

A. If there is incorrect information in your credit report, you may ask the credit reporting agency to investigate your dispute. Under the Massachusetts credit reporting law, the agency must investigate any non-frivolous dispute within 30 days. Any information that is erroneous, incomplete or non-verifiable must be corrected or deleted. You may prepare a short statement to be included in your credit report if you disagree with the result of the investigation.

Q. I am thinking of using a “credit doctor” who claims that he can delete my personal bankruptcy from my credit report.
Should we pay him $200 to do this?

A. There is no legitimate way to remove correct information from your credit report Bad credit may be reported for 7 years and bankruptcies may be reported for 10 years. What many of these “credit repair” or “credit doctor” companies do is merely dispute the information on your credit report. You can ask the credit reporting agencies directly to investigate a bona fide at no cost. The credit reporting agency must investigate and remove any disputed information that cannot be verified.

Home Improvement

Q. Should I have a written contract from my home improvement contractor?

A. Yes. Any home improvement agreement in excess of $1,000 must be in writing. The contract must include the full name of the contractor, the contractor’s social security and registration number, address (not a post office box), and the name of the salesperson, if any, who negotiated the contract, as well as the date the contract was executed. There must also be a start date, and a date on which the work is scheduled to be substantially completed; a detailed description of the work to be done and the materials to be used, the total amount agreed to be paid, a time schedule of payments and the amount of each payment in dollars, including all finance charges. (Any deposit under the contract is not to exceed one-third of the total amount, or the amount of special-ordered materials needed to be ordered before work begins, whichever is greater.)The contract must also be signed by the consumer and the contractor, and contain clear and conspicuous disclosure of the consumer’s right to cancel the contract within 3 days, if applicable, and a notice of the requirement of contractor registration, and any consumer warranties arising under the home improvement contractor statute, as well as a warning not to sign the contract if there are any blank spaces on it.Consumers should contact the Department of Public Safety at (617) 727-3200 X25205 to make sure that their contractor is properly registered. Their web site is www.magnet.state.ma.us./bbrs It is also a good idea to check if the contractor has complaints on file against them with the Attorney General’s Office at (617) 727-8400 and the Better Business Bureau at (508) 652-4800.

Q. Is it true that all home improvement contractors have to be registered in Massachusetts?

A. On July 1, 1992, the registration of home improvement contractors became mandatory. There are some exceptions. Contractors who need not be registered are those who install or provide central heating and air conditioning, energy conservation devices, landscaping, interior painting, wall and floor coverings, fencing, freestanding masonry walls, above ground pools, shutters, awnings, patios, driveways and licensed professionals, such as electricians and plumbers, as well as some part-time and small job (under $500) contractors. Contractors are required to display their state registration number on all advertisements, contracts, and permits.

 

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