A.G. Schneiderman Announces Judgment Obtained Against Fraudulent Home Improvement Contractors, Urges Potential Victims To File Complaints

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Judgment Obtained Against Fraudulent Home Improvement Contractors, Urges Potential Victims To File Complaints

KINGSTON – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced that his office has obtained a judgment against home improvement contractors who repeatedly and persistently ripped of customers in the Southern Tier and Central New York by going door-to-door seeking to pave or repair driveways and perform roof repairs, and quoting prices that were significantly inflated after the customers agreed to the work.  They would harass and intimidate consumers into allowing them to do the work, which was thereafter incomplete and shoddy.

“To bully New Yorkers into purchasing services, and then turn around and provide shoddy work for sky-high prices is inexcusable,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “We will fight to hold dishonest contractors accountable, and I encourage all New Yorkers to follow my tips to avoid falling victim to these con artists.”

Attorney General Schneiderman obtained a judgment against Douglas Cooper of Kingston, and Nicholas Cooper, of Highland, who were doing business as “N. Cooper Paving.”  NYS Supreme Court Justice Molly Reynolds Fitzgerald signed a the judgment prohibiting the Coopers from engaging in the home improvement business in New York until they file a $100,000 performance bond with the Attorney General’s Office.  The judgment also orders the Coopers to pay $23,900 in restitution to injured consumers, as well as $7,000 in cost and penalties to the State.  Additionally, any other consumers who believe that they have been ripped off by Douglas and Nicholas Cooper may file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by April 11, 2016.

According to Attorney General Schneiderman, the Coopers would go through neighborhoods knocking on doors and representing that they had extra blacktop in the back of their trucks.  They would also approach consumers to clear snow off of roofs or repair roofs They claimed that they could give homeowners a good price for the work and that they would do quality work.  They would not furnish homeowners with a written contract prior to performing the work.  They would begin working, and then approach consumers asking for payment in an amount greater than initially quoted.

Attorney General Schneiderman offers the following tips to consumers who are considering hiring a home improvement contractor:

  • 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; and
  • 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,http://www.ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/home-improvements.

This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Michael J. Danaher, Jr. with the assistance of Investigator Kathleen Coppersmith of the Binghamton Regional Office. The Assistant Attorney General In-Charge is James E. Shoemaker and the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs is Marty Mack.