Cordray goes on the attack against contractors

Keith Loria May 14, 2010, 2:54pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray sent a strong warning to home improvement contractors on Friday, filing charges against eight Ohio companies that allegedly defrauded Ohio consumers.

"My office receives thousands of complaints annually from consumers who receive poor service from home improvement contractors," Cordray said. "As a result, this spring we took a hard-line approach to cleaning up the industry in Ohio."

Among the eight companies cited for violating Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act were Custom Touch Remodel, backyard Oasis/Royal Spa, Brown & Brown Roofing, Hometown Improvement, Inc., C&W Concrete, Premier Design Consultants, Inc., Scott Goodin Heating and Cooling, and Shawn Fleming Snowplowing and Shawn Fleming Roofing

Anthony Otworth of Custom Touch Remodel, based in Galloway, was charged with failing to follow through on roofing and kitchen remodeling services that he was paid for. The company has also been charged with performing shoddy workmanship, soliciting consumers unlawfully, due to no written agreement, and failing to deliver.

Hot tub and spa contractor Backyard Oasis/Royal Spa, located in Lewis Center, was charged with taking full payment from consumers without performing contracted services or providing refunds.

A default judgment was issued against Bob Brown of Brown & Brown Roofing and Bob Brown Roofing, based in Dayton. The company was found to be in violation of several CSPA provisions. Among the violations cited in the judgment include shoddy workmanship, failure to provide refunds and failure to provide accurate estimates. Brown was ordered to pay $125,000 in civil penalties and $14,685 in restitution to Ohio consumers.

The Columbus-based Hometown Improvement Inc. was charged with failing to provide services after being paid in full. They were also accused of shoddy workmanship and failure to deliver.

Kyle Wiehoff of C&W Concrete, located in Columbus, was charged with accepting payment for services and then never delivering on installations of outdoor custom concrete and other violations.

The Columbus-based Premier Design Consultants was issued a default judgment for multiple CSPA violations including misrepresentation, accepting substantial down payments and failing to provide services and performing shoddy workmanship on home improvement projects such as finishing basements and building decks. Premier was ordered to pay $150,000 in civil penalties and $48,148 in consumer restitution.

Scott Goodin Heating and Cooling, located in Cincinnati, was charged with performing shoddy work and collecting money for services that were not performed. Goodin is also alleged to have failed to issue terms of a warranty that he misrepresented as being covered.

Shawn Fleming Snowplowing and Shawn Fleming Roofing, based in Mentor, allegedly took money for services, resulting in thousands of dollars in payment for work that was never done. The complaint stems from gutter repair, roofing and snow plowing that was paid for but not completed.

"The contractors named in today's sweep defrauded Ohioans out of tens of thousands of dollars," Cordray said. "Their fraudulent actions cast an undeserved shadow over the many hard-working, reputable companies that play by the rules."

Cordray said that his office will continue to closely monitor the industry for any unscrupulous activities in an effort to keep things fair for those provide good service.

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