Risks of hiring strangers to hang up your holiday lights

CREATED Dec 5, 2012

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Reporter: Justin Schecker

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - 'Tis the season when many get in the holiday spirit by dangling lights outside of their homes. It's also the season when you drive past signs from people looking to make an extra buck by hanging those lights.

The Arizona Registrar of Contractors advises consumers to stay away from hiring unlicensed contractors. 

Dominick Porretto, a manager at the Ace Hardware store on 22nd Street, told 9 On Your Side he gives his customers the same advice.    

"The consumer beware," Poretto said. "You want to deal with someone who is licensed, so you know you're getting the job done and getting it done right."

When it comes to hiring someone without the proper experience dealing with lights, Porretto said "it could present a potential hazard," like electrical fires.

"Trying to find out where they are to catch up with them is going to be one of your major problems," Porretto said if you encounter a problem and your contractor is not licensed. 

Hanging your own lights is one way to avoid that mess, Porretto said.

"Normally doing the lights is a very simple and most homeowners can do that if they follow some basic precautions," Porretto said.

He advises people to string their lights on the ground and test all of the bulbs before hanging them up on the house.         

If you chose to hire outside help, anybody who is licensed will have it marked on their business card or truck. You can always check in with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors or the Better Business Bureau