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Post date: August 18 1999

Dutchess County Home Contractor Forced To Make Refunds

Attorney General Spitzer today praised the ruling of a State Supreme Court judge that will force a Dutchess County home improvement contractor to refund money to some of his customers.

State Supreme Court Judge Ralph A. Beisner of Dutchess County ruled that Emil Suter, the owner of Affordable Building and Remodeling and E.J. Construction, must pay back five of his customers for the sub-standard, and sometimes incomplete, work done on their houses.

"I am pleased that the court agrees that these consumers deserve to be compensated for problems associated with Suter's home repair projects," Spitzer said. "It is a priority of my office to uphold the integrity of the home contractor business and stand by consumers in their demand for quality and dependable repair work."

The decision also upholds Spitzer's request that Suter be prohibited from operating as a home improvement contractor in New York State until he provides a $50,000 performance bond. This bond will insure that any future victims of Suter have a remedy to receive refunds from him in the event he violates the law again.

Suter was also ordered to pay a total of $3,750 in civil penalties for his deceptive business practices and an additional $2,000 to cover the costs of the investigation.

For one consumer, this means that, after nearly five years of waiting, Suter will finally be forced to pay him almost $14,000. In this case, Suter had contracted to finish a basement and install a new bathroom for a total cost of $6,500. The consumer, however, was eventually forced to get a different contractor to fix Suter's unfinished project.

Individuals who believe they have been harmed by Suter, Affordable Building and Remodeling or E.J. Construction have until November 10 to file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office in order to be eligible for restitution under this ruling. Consumers are encouraged to call the consumer hotline at (800) 771-7755 in order to file a complaint.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Lynn Anne Tabbott of the Poughkeepsie Regional Office.