IL AG warns homeowners about fraud

April 20, 2009 3:51:58 PM PDT
Illinois' attorney general is warning homeowners about fraud involving home repairs. Last week, Lisa Madigan's office filed lawsuits against seven Illinois contractors accused of performing substandard work or no work at all.

So how can you protect yourself when hiring someone to perform repairs or remodeling?

Spring is a time when homeowners might look for help with projects around the house.

Each year home repair complaints are among the top consumer complaints. As the attorney general warns consumers so do some local homeowners who have lost money.

A home in Will County needed some work. The siding, windows and roof were to be replaced.

Last year, the Bradley's heard the name Boss Contruction several times. Phil Bradley checked the business' standing, got a reference and was ready to go.

The estimate was $49,000. When he signed the contract he put down half that was last summer.

"I paid a total of $24,500 and got absolutely nothing," said Phil Bradley, home repair client.

Boss Construction incorporated is among seven contractors sued by the Illinois attorney general for home repair complaints. Each of the companies have several complaints against them.

Now they are being sued under the Illinois consumer fraud and deceptive practices act.

"We see too many people who have their money taken and no work is done. In these tough economic times you have to be really careful your work is not getting scammed. That's why I say if it's a small amount, do it on a credit card, don't give cash," said Lisa Madigan, Illinois attorney general.

In another case, the Peterson's in DuPage County wanted a gazebo built.

Florence Peterson says they hired 123 General Construction. But she tells ABC7 the gazebo leaned and had to be removed.

The principals of 123 General Construction Shane Rasmussen and Paul Haley are named another lawsuit brought by the attorney general.

"It's not just shoddy work, it's people who take your money and then never do any work at all," said Madigan.

As for the Bradley's, losing $24,000 dollars cut into their daughter's college fund. They've delayed other things but leaks from the roof are forcing them to start making repairs with another contractor before the situation gets worse.

"It's embarrassing. You have to get over it and come out fighting and try to get a productive end to it," said Bradley.

Mr. Bradley says next time he will also check to see if the contractor has any liens against it and get more references.

The Illinois attorney general says using a contractor that has been used by others you know and trust is a good rule. And you can contact the attorney general to see if there are other complaints.

For more tips on avoiding fraud, please visit http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/tips.html.


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