Madigan sues over lifetime guarantees

Keith Loria Feb. 8, 2011, 3:38am


CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced on Tuesday that she filed a lawsuit against two home repair contractors who allegedly promised lifetime guarantees for repair work but didn't deliver on their promises.

Frank E. Edelmann and Lee Sobczak, both of La Grange Park, Ill., allegedly solicited consumers through newspaper ads that were deceptive and misled others with false information on company websites. The ads allegedly misled consumers into believing they guaranteed certain repairs for life.

Madigan alleges that Edelmann and Sobcza, under the guise of their companies - Concrete Charlie Inc., Concrete Repair Center Inc., and Ostarr Corporation of America - allegedly violated the state's Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the Home Repair and Remodeling Act.

The suit alleges that the defendants promised lifetime guarantees verbally and in writing, but wouldn't provide additional repairs for many who sought to act on the supposed lifetime guarantee.

The two men allegedly gave consumers certificates to give the appearance that their work was guaranteed, but the defendants never honored them. Complaints from consumers came into Madigan's office, with more than $27,700 allegedly taken from those with lifetime contracts.

"Home repair fraud is consistently among the top complaints my office receives each year," Madigan said. "Time and again, we hear from consumers who were scammed out of thousands of dollars by an unscrupulous contractor trying to make a quick profit without completing the work they promised.

"This lawsuit should serve as a reminder to homeowners that they should be extremely cautious when hiring a repair service. Ask for estimates from several companies, and always check their references."

Madigan is seeking a court order that would stop the defendants from working in the home repair trade in the state. She also wants all pending contracts with the defendants cancelled and restitution for all affected consumers.

Additionally, Madigan wants to impose a civil penalty of $50,000 for both Edelmann and Sobczak, as well as additional penalties of $50,000 for each violation found to be committed with the intent to defraud and $10,000 per violation found to be committed against a senior 65 years of age or older.

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