Each year, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs receives thousands of complaints from consumers who hire contractors to do costly repair projects and who are less than satisfied with the results. Consumers complain about shoddy workmanship, missed deadlines, and a contractor’s failure to complete the work or to start the project at all after taking a deposit. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is designed to protect you from misrepresentation, fraud and deception in consumer transactions, including contracts for home improvement work. Home improvement contractors who are not registered with Consumer Affairs will not be issued municipal construction permits and will not be permitted to perform home improvement work in New Jersey. Ensure that all applicable construction permits are obtained from the local municipality. If you are applying for the permit yourself, provide the contractor’s name and license in the permit application. Do not say that you are performing the work yourself if you are in fact using a contractor as you may be forfeiting the protections afforded by law. Persons or companies licensed by the State, such as plumbers, electrical contractors and architects, are not required to register as home improvement contractors if they are acting within the scope of their profession. Before hiring any of the professionals listed in this section, check the Licensee Search link on the Division’s Web site or call the appropriate licensing board to determine that the person doing the work is licensed to do so and that his/her license is active and in good standing. The following instructions will help facilitate your access to this information online or you can call the Division of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-242-5846.