Columbia County Home Improvement Contractor Sued For Fraud
Attorney General Spitzer today announced a lawsuit against a Columbia County home improvement contractor for repeatedly and persistently defrauding consumers.
The Attorney General's lawsuit alleges that Vincent Van Pinto, doing business as Hudson Valley Modulars, V.P. Building Corp. and Millennium Modulars, accepted payments from consumers and never performed work or performed poor quality work.
"Home contractors who fail to deal fairly and responsibly with consumers will be held accountable," Spitzer said.
In filing the lawsuit, Spitzer's office seeks a court order permanently barring Pinto from the home improvement industry unless and until he posts a $200,000 performance bond.
In addition, Spitzer's office seeks full monetary restitution and damages for all injured consumers, civil penalties for Pinto's violations of law and the costs of the investigation and lawsuit.
Spitzer filed the lawsuit after his investigation revealed that several consumers paid significant advance deposits for work that was never done. Some jobs were not even started and others were abandoned after delays and pressure by Pinto for additional advance payments. In instances where some work was done, the work was shoddy, requiring consumers to hire contractors to both fix the problems created by Pinto as well as to complete the job. Successfully, Pinto failed to respond to consumer's repeated attempts to contact him to reschedule appointments or obtain refunds. Over the years, Pinto has been sued by many consumers, subcontractors and suppliers. However, they never collected any of their judgments.
Pinto failed to comply with state consumer protection laws that require home improvement contracts to provide consumers with notice of important rights, including a three-day right to cancel and the contractor's obligation to place consumers' deposits in separate escrow accounts unless the post a performance bond.
Individuals interested in filing a complaint against Vincent Van Pinto are directed to contact the Attorney General's consumer help line at (800) 771-7755.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General G. Nicholas Garin of the Poughkeepsie Regional Office, (845) 485-3900.
The Attorney General offered the following tips to consumers on home improvement contractors:
- Never agree to have work done on the spot, especially when potential contractors are door-to-door marketing; determine exactly what you want done, then seek out 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; and
- Contact the Attorney General's office at (800) 771-7755 if you have any unresolved dispute with a home improvement contractor and are seeking assistance.
For more information about consumer protection laws regarding home improvements, visit to the Attorney General's web site at www.ag.ny.gov.