Neb. company ordered to reimburse Iowa resident

Bryan Cohen Apr. 12, 2012, 12:15pm


DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced an order on Wednesday against an Omaha, Neb., contractor requiring the company to comply with Iowa's door-to-door sales and consumer fraud laws and to reimburse a Council Bluffs resident.

Mark Schneidewind, the owner of NationWide Construction Inc., which also does business as Midwest Restorations Inc. in Omaha, allegedly failed to provide services following payment, made misrepresentations to customers and provided substandard services.

Polk County District Court Judge Robert A. Hutchison ordered Schneidewind to reimburse a Council Bluffs consumer $7,179. In 2009, the consumer's insurance company paid NationWide to repair his house after it suffered storm damage. NationWide allegedly failed to do the work and then refused to refund insurance money the consumer had given it.

The consent judgment followed a petition that Miller filed on Wednesday. Under the terms of the agreement, Schneidewind and NationWide must comply with the Iowa Door-to-Door Sales Act and a court-ordered list of business practices. NationWide and Schneidewind agreed to the court order while denying Miller's allegations.

The defendants allegedly misrepresented their membership with the Better Business Bureau, which rates NationWide Construction at an F, by stating that it was BBB accredited. The defendants also allegedly collected an insurance payment in advance from the consumer but failed to perform work related to storm repair. The defendants allegedly failed to follow Iowa laws on consumers' rights to cancel and did not issue a refund upon request.

In addition, the defendants allegedly failed to comply with a previous subpoena issued by Miller and violated a previous court order that enforced the subpoena. The defendants allegedly did business in Iowa without registering as contractors with Iowa Workforce Development and violated multiple state consumer protection laws.

Miller's lawsuit sought additional court-ordered protections for future Iowa consumers if the defendants seek additional contracting or home repair work, including an order to comply with the Iowa Door-to-Door Sales Act, an order for the defendants not to collect or request payments for materials or labor until a contract is fully completed, and an order for the defendants to not engage in misrepresentations or consumer fraud. The defendants must also respond to future inquiries and complaints from Miller's office. If the defendants do not comply with the court order, they could face a contempt action and could be permanently barred from future contracting and home repair work.

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