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Post date: February 3 2004

Mobile Home Dealer To Repair Shoddy Work

Attorney General Spitzer today announced an agreement that will clean up the business practices of a major upstate mobile home dealer that operates in Chemung, Livingston, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans and Oswego counties.

Affordable Great Locations, Inc. was alleged to have repeatedly failed to properly install mobile homes in a durable, livable, and safe manner in accordance with manufacturers' instructions.

"This case demonstrates how the dream of home ownership can quickly deteriorate into a nightmare of shoddy work and unlivable conditions," Spitzer said. "My office will aggressively defend consumers' rights against mobile home dealers who disregard their legal obligations to provide installation of homes that are safe, durable and suitable to occupy."

Affordable Great Locations failed to correct problems caused by its improper installation. When consumers complained, the mobile home retailer attempted to disclaim responsibility by contending that it was the manufacturer's responsibility to perform warranty repairs. In some instances, Affordable Great Locations failed to respond to consumer requests for service and repairs resulting from improper set-up and installation.

Consumers who were referred to their mobile home's manufacturer soon learned that their claim was rejected because Affordable Great Locations failed to properly install and set up their homes.

Since 2000, Spitzer's office has received 17 complaints against Affordable Great Locations, most of which were related to installation and shoddy work.

State law provides that warranties on mobile homes apply to the dealers as well as to the manufacturers. Federal and state regulations also require that construction - including the assembly - of mobile homes and manufactured homes conform with accepted engineering practices and demonstrate acceptable workmanship and that installation be in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

One disabled single mother turned to Spitzer's office for assistance because she had numerous problems with her mobile home including: walls improperly supported and fastened leading to separating and buckling and drywall cracks; improperly installed windows that bowed causing damage to the interior of the home and mold growth; and vinyl siding cut short and loose in several locations.

As part of the settlement, Affordable Great Locations agreed to repair all mobile homes and to allow the mobile home manufacturers to independently re-inspect the repairs. In addition, Affordable Great Locations agreed to pay $8,000 in civil penalties and costs to the state.

Finally, to protect future mobile home customers, the settlement with Spitzer's office requires Affordable Great Locations to:

  • Properly install mobile homes pursuant to the manufacturer's instruction and in conformance with accepted engineering practices;
  • Conduct proper inspections of the installation of mobile homes; and
  • Respond to consumer requests for service and repairs within 30 days or, in the event that the condition of the premises become dangerous or would cause further immediate damage, complete repairs within three days of such a customer request.

Affordable Great Locations has been an authorized retailer of mobile home manufacturers such as Skyline Mobile Homes of Pennsylvania, Titan Homes of Sangerfield, New York, and Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc. of Riverside, California. It operates showrooms in Caledonia, Albion, Elmira, Lakeville, Manchester, Niagara Falls, and Phoenix.

Spitzer's office acknowledged the assistance of staff at the Division of Code Enforcement and Administration of the New York Department of State.

Consumers have four months to file complaints with the Attorney General's office to be eligible for relief under the terms of the settlement. To do so, individuals are directed to contact the Attorney General's consumer help line at (800) 771-7755.

This investigation is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Carlos Rodriguez of the Rochester Regional Office.