A.G. Schneiderman Sues To Permanently Shut Down Unscrupulous Home Improvement Contractor In Western And Central New York
Attorney General Seeks Restitution For Customers, Costs And Penalties, And Permanent Injunction Barring Contractor From Operating In New York State
ROCHESTER – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office filed legal action in Monroe County Supreme Court seeking a permanent injunction against a Rochester-based home improvement contractor who sold and contracted to install granite and marble countertops and tile to consumers throughout Western and Central New York. Ismail Cakir, president of Metropolitan Granite & Marble LLC, is alleged to have repeatedly and persistently defrauded consumers in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse by receiving full or partial payments for home improvement projects and either failing to perform the work or performing shoddy and unprofessional work.
“Making home improvements is often a costly and stressful experience for many New Yorkers trying to invest in their homes,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Unscrupulous contractors who take advantage of working families by performing shoddy work or failing to perform work at all will be held accountable.”
The Attorney General’s Office began receiving complaints about Metropolitan and Cakir in 2010. Initially, the Attorney General’s Office attempted to mediate the complaints. Numerous customers were promised refunds that never arrived, and at least 13 complainants sought and received small claims judgments against Metropolitan. Other complainants were informed that Metropolitan Granite & Marble, Inc. had been dissolved in 2011 and was no longer in business. While the company was dissolved for failure to pay state sales taxes, Cakir registered his business under another name, Metropolitan Granite & Marble, LLC, and resumed operations without paying promised refunds.
Of the 13 consumers who sought and were awarded relief in Small Claims Courts in Rochester and Syracuse, none received payment from Cakir. Failure to pay a small claims judgment is a violation of Article 18 of the Uniform City Court Act.
The Attorney General is seeking a permanent injunction against Cakir that will bar him from ever operating a home improvement business in New York, as well as $10,641 in restitution for defrauded consumers, $32,200 in unpaid small claims judgments for consumers, and $117,000 in costs and penalties. If the Court grants the injunction, Metropolitan and Cakir will be stopped from defrauding consumers through the home improvement business in New York.
When planning to use a home improvement contractor, consumers should consider the following tips:
- Never agree to have work done on the spot, especially when potential contractors are marketing door to door
- Determine exactly what you want done, then look for a qualified contractor
- Shop around and get at least three estimates from reputable contractors that include specific information about the materials and services to be provided
- Ask for references: Check with the Better Business Bureau, banks, suppliers, and neighbors
- Always contact any references provided to you
- Insist on a written contract that includes the price and description of the work to be done
- Do not pay unreasonable advance sums; negotiate a payment schedule tied to the completion of specific stages of the job
- Never pay the full price up front
- Remember that you have three days to cancel after signing a home improvement contract, but all cancellations must be in writing
Additional information on how to avoid fraudulent home improvement contractors can be found on the Attorney General’s Website.
Consumers who believe they may have been defrauded by or have unresolved disputes with a home improvement contractor are urged to call the Attorney General’s Consumer Help Line at (800) 771-7755.The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Bruce and Volunteer Assistant Attorney General Shannon O. Pozzuolo. The investigation is being handed by Senior Investigator Christopher Holland with the assistance of Senior Consumer Frauds Representative Emily Brightman.
The case and investigation are being managed by the Rochester Regional Office, which is led by Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge Debra Martin. The Rochester Regional Office is a part of the Division of Regional Offices, led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Offices Marty Mack.