MADIGAN FILES LAWSUITS IN SWEEP OF FRAUDULENT HOME REPAIR COMPANIES
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced she has filed five lawsuits in a sweep of fraudulent home repair businesses that cheated homeowners in Chicago and Central Illinois out of more than $365,000.
Madigan said the companies operated home repair scams, soliciting homeowners for repair work and requiring large, upfront payments to begin the work. But the lawsuits allege the contractors failed to do much work – if any at all – beyond cashing homeowners’ deposits. Madigan said in some cases, these con artists operated as “storm chasers,” swooping into communities after severe storms to take advantage of people scrambling to repair damage to their homes.
“In all of these cases, there were red-flag warnings that the contractors were up to no good,” Madigan said. “Any time a repair company solicits door to door or uses high-pressure tactics to sign up customers, it’s a signal that something is wrong. I urge homeowners to use extreme caution when hiring contractors. Do your homework and ask plenty of questions before signing anything.”
Madigan filed lawsuits against the following defendants:
Madigan’s lawsuits ask the court to permanently ban the defendants from working in the home repair trade in Illinois, cancel any pending contracts with homeowners and obtain restitution for affected consumers. The lawsuits also seek to impose on the defendants an array of civil penalties for the allegations laid out in each of the complaints.
Madigan offered the following tips to help protect families and businesses from being duped by dishonest contractors:
Madigan also reminded consumers that the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act requires contractors to furnish customers with written contracts for any repair or remodeling work costing more than $1,000. A contract must be signed by both the customer and the contractor. The law also requires contractors to carry at least minimum amounts of insurance for property damage, bodily injury and improper home repair. Contractors also must provide consumers with an informational pamphlet entitled “Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights.”
Madigan urged homeowners to contact her Consumer Fraud Hotline, (800) 386-5438, to report being victimized by a home repair scheme or to learn tips for finding a reputable contractor.
Assistant Attorneys General Shannon DeLaMar, Junko Minami, Janice Parker and Eric Sirota are handling the cases for Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.