North Carolina Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General issued the following announcement on Aug. 20.
Attorney General Josh Stein filed a suit against Randy Briel, Glenn Dunnam, Signature Sun Decks, and Decks Patios and Porches over a contractor scheme in the Charlotte area. The suit alleges that these defendants take money from consumers without doing the work they’ve promised to perform. The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and other civil penalties for victims.
“Unfortunately, some contractors are crooked: they take people’s money but don’t do the work,” said Attorney General Stein. “My office will not allow it.”
The suit, filed over deceptive trade practices, alleges that the defendants, neither of whom is a licensed contractor, advertise a legitimate residential contractor business with more than 20 business names. They enter into a written contract, require a deposit before work begins and at various stages during construction. The defendants then do work and demand installment payments – and quickly thereafter abandon the project with the customer’s money.
While Attorney General Stein has received 16 complaints about Briel, Dunnam, and their companies, it is likely that there are many more customers who have been impacted by this scam. Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a contractor scam by these defendants or any other should file a complaint with Attorney General Stein’s office here.
Contractor scams related to patios, driveways, decks, etc. are on the rise in North Carolina. To avoid becoming the victim of such a scam, follow these tips:
Check out a company before you decide to work with them. Contact the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau to learn about any complaints against the company. You can also ask the company for references.
Get written estimates and compare bids. Instead of deciding to do business with someone who knocks on your door, get at least three estimates in writing if possible. Before work begins make sure you get a written contract that lists all the work to be performed, its costs and a completion date.
Beware of up-sells. Some companies will come to your house to perform a service or repair at a low advertised rate but when they arrive they point out various expensive and alarming problems that supposedly need attention right away. By the time they leave, you may have paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for unneeded services.
Ask about guarantees. Most companies will guarantee their work or the product for a certain period of time. Make sure to get this information in writing.
Do not pay for work up front. Inspect the work and make sure you’re satisfied before you pay. A reasonable down payment may be required, but don’t pay anything without getting a written contract. You can also buy the materials directly from the supplier instead of paying the contractor. Avoid paying with cash; use a check or a credit card instead.
Remember your right to cancel. Transactions that take place at a location that is not the seller’s normal place of business, including your home, are eligible under state law to be cancelled up to three days after you sign the contract. The seller should include instructions on how to cancel in the written contract. You must notify them in writing if you change your mind within that three day period.
Original source can be found here.