Attorney General Cuomo's Lawsuit Leads To The Shut Down Of Eagle Construction For Defrauding Consumers
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (February 28, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced a court judgment shutting down of a Rochester-area home improvement contractor who defrauded multiple consumers – including senior citizens – and left many property owners with costly and incomplete projects.
The State Supreme Court judgment against Eagle Window and Siding Corporation, and its owner, requires the contractor to pay nearly $377,000 in restitution and penalties. The judgment, filed in Monroe County, comes from a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office last year.
“This contractor was selling promises, but not delivering performance,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “This suit, which is part of an ongoing effort to crack down on unscrupulous home improvement contractors, will ensure that homeowners in the Rochester area will no longer be victimized by Mr. Costello.”
The Attorney General’s lawsuit was filed in 2007 against Eagle Window and Siding Corporation, formerly located on Buffalo Rd., Rochester, and its owner, John O. Costello, 63, of Sutorius Drive, Greece, for failing to perform the work for which he had been paid, using unacceptable workmanship and ignoring customer complaints.
State Supreme Court Justice David M. Barry issued a permanent injunction prohibiting Eagle/Costello from engaging in the home improvement contracting business in New York State. Also, Costello was ordered to pay $347,023.36 in restitution to 44 consumers, and pay another $30,000 in penalties, which includes a $10,000 penalty for defrauding elderly consumers.
Customers who believe they may have been defrauded by Eagle/Costello have until June 9, 2008 to file a complaint with the Rochester Regional Office, which can be reached at (585) 546-7430.
In addition to legal actions, the Attorney General’s Office regularly mediates consumer complaints on a number of issues. Last year, the Attorney General’s Rochester Regional Office mediated 130 consumer complaints against home improvement contractors, resulting in $84,242 in restitution to consumers. Statewide in 2007, the Attorney General’s Office mediated more than 900 complaints against contractors, resulting in restitution of more than $521,000 to consumers.
When planning to use a home 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; 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 needed
- 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, www.ag.ny.gov/bureaus/consumer_frauds/tips/home_improvements.html.
If you have unresolved disputes with a home improvement contractor and are seeking assistance, you may call the Attorney General’s Consumer Help Line at 800-771-7755.
The cases were handled by Assistant Attorney General Carlos Rodriguez of the Rochester Regional Office under the supervision of Acting Assistant Attorney General In-Charge James Gelormini.