COLUMBUS, OHIO — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has filed two separate lawsuits against contractors alleging that they failed to provide the home repairs and renovation services promised to and paid for by homeowners.
Yost’s Consumer Protection Section filed a lawsuit in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas against Weylin Stewart, Roofless General Contracting LLC and Gutter and Downspouts LLC. Stewart and his businesses are accused of taking over $36,000 from homeowners for home renovations and repairs and failing to complete the work they were paid to perform.
In a separate lawsuit filed in the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, Paul Tunison is accused of swindling people out of nearly $20,180 using the fake business name, Tunison Construction. Homeowners reported that after paying Tunison, he failed to complete projects, performed shoddy work and failed to honor warranties on repairs.
“Instead of strapping on their toolbelts and going to work, these scammers thought they could run off with the money,” Yost said. “So now we’ve grabbed our tools and we’re going to drop the hammer on these guys.”
This year, Yost’s office has handled 2,086 complaints from property owners regarding contractors hired for improvements. During that same time period, the office has returned over a quarter-of-a-million dollars through its informal dispute resolution process.
In order to avoid contractor scams, when entering into a home improvement contract, always remember to:
- Ask the contractor for and check references. Beware that contractors may use alternative business or individual names to avoid bad references.
- Ask the contractor for proof of licenses, insurance and bonding. State law does not require home improvement contractors to be licensed, but many Ohio cities do.
- Check with the local Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to see if complaints are on file against the company or the individual. You can also search for previous lawsuits filed by the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section, click here.
- Obtain at least three written estimates from three different contractors.
- Get all promises, specifications, and warranties in writing. Once a contract is agreed upon, read the contract fully before signing.
- Do not pay for the entire job up front. Try to work out a payment schedule with the contractor – such as one-third up-front; one-third half way through; and one-third upon completion to your satisfaction.
Consumers who suspect an unfair business practice or want help addressing a consumer problem should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515 or click here to file a complaint.