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WASHINGTON AG'S OFFICE WARNS HOMEOWNERS TO SHUT OUT DOOR-TO-DOOR CONTRACTORS

 SEATTLE, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- A home remodeling company, operating recently in Spokane and under investigation by the Washington State Attorney General's (AG) Office for alleged deceptive advertising practices, may be moving its operations to Tacoma and Pierce County, according to the AG's office.
 As a result, the AG's office is warning homeowners to be wary of individuals or companies advertising remodeling services by flyer and soliciting work door-to-door.
 The firm, Factory Direct Services, allegedly has misled Spokane-area residents on financing remodeling projects and the availability of federal funding for low income residents. The work performed also has been reported to be substandard. In addition, several subcontractors who have worked with the firm have complained to the AG's office about not being paid.
 Some consumers also have complained that reimbursement checks from Factory Direct for unfinished work were returned for insufficient funds. The company also is suspected to have left unpaid bills in Spokane for lumber and other supplies, along with hotel rooms and rental cars.
 The company may be changing its name to F.D.A. Inc. in its advertisements in the Tacoma area.
 Typically, deceptive contractors paper an area with flyers offering remodeling services at below market rates or with easy financing. They follow up with door-to-door sales during which they pressure homeowners into a contract, demand payment in advance, and then leave the area after performing little or none of the work they promised. Consumers should be on the look out for:
 -- Companies or individuals representing themselves as a statewide energy conservation and rehabilitation company providing federal loan programs; and
 -- Contractors asking for work door-to-door and/or who require payment immediately.
 Anyone encountering such a contractor should refuse to hire the individual and contact the Attorney General's Office at 800-551-4636. The TDD number for the hearing impaired is 800-276-9883.
 Before a homeowner signs a work order or pays a contractor for any work, the homeowner should get a written estimate, then make calls to several local contractors to ensure the estimate is reasonable.
 In addition, homeowners should check a contractor's references and call the State Department of Labor & Industries toll-free contractor registration hotline at 800-647-0982 to verify the company is registered with the state. While registration is no guarantee of the quality of the work, it does indicate the firm is licensed, bonded and insured.
 -0- 1/10/94
 /CONTACT: Berdene Saul, Consumer Protection Division, 206-464-6388, or Dean R. Owen, Public Affairs Office, 206-586-1883, both of the AG's office/


CO: Washington State Attorney General's Office; Factory Direct Services ST: Washington IN: SU:

JH-IC -- SE009 -- 0638 01/10/94 15:01 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 10, 1994
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