Tips from our “Know Before You…” files
Now that it’s officially warm outside, thoughts of summer vacation might be on your mind. The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has got you covered.
Our “Know Before You…” consumer protection campaign is a series of flyers that offer tips to protect you from fraud and information about what to do if you become a victim.
Could thoughts of summer include a vacation rental? First, make sure it’s licensed. Keep in mind that a “Vacation Rental” does not include SRO’s (single room occupancy buildings), B&B’s (Bed and Breakfast), hotels or month-to-month rental units. Also, it is unlawful for any vacation rental to rent or lease by the hour or for less than 24 consecutive hours or advertise an hourly rate. They also cannot serve or provide alcohol to any guest.
If vacation thoughts lean more toward the sea than land the BACP’s “Know Before You Charter A Boat” flyer notes that tour and charter boats must have a City issued Commercial Passenger Vessel license. Also all vessels operating as a “passenger vessel” must be operated by a Captain with a Merchant Mariner’s credential on board. If the boat is carrying more than six people including at least one person who works on the boat, ask to see the Certificate of Inspection. To be valid it must be current and meet all Coast Guard safety requirements for an inspected passenger vessel. Oh and after payment for the charter, don’t forget to get a receipt signed by the operator.
Maybe your vacation will be staycation –taking in the sights and sounds of the city. Here are a few things to “Know Before You Hail a Taxicab or Pedicab; a “hail” is an appeal by words or gestures for a ride. A prospective passenger can “hail” but a driver cannot solicit by using words or hand gestures. Transportation Network Drivers (e.g. Uber, Lyft), livery or suburban operators cannot stop their vehicles to respond to or accept a request for service by a traditional street hail.
Warm weather prompts many to take on home repair projects. A few tips to “Know Before You Begin a Home Repair Project” include getting a detailed estimate before work begins -consumers have the right to receive one. If the contract for home repair is signed at the consumer’s home, they have three days to cancel it. Also a “Notice of Cancellation” form should be provided to the consumer by the business.
The business must have a current City of Chicago issued Home Repair or General Contractor license. The license number is required on the businesses flyers, ads and business vehicles. They must also have insurance up to $300,000 and it’s the consumer’s right to see the insurance certificate. And if the home repair project requires a building permit, the homeowner is responsible for getting it.
To check whether or not a permit is required for your home repair project visit the Department of Buildingsfor permit information.