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Post date: October 6 2017

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Lawsuit Against Buffalo Home Improvement Contractor For Allegedly Failing To Provide Services

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2017

Attorney General’s Press Office / 212-416-8060
nyag.pressoffice@ag.ny.gov
Twitter: @AGSchneiderman

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES LAWSUIT AGAINST BUFFALO HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR FOR ALLEGEDLY FAILING TO PROVIDE SERVICES

Attorney General’s Office Has Reviewed Over 40 Complaints Against John Kniery

NEW YORK—Attorney General Eric T. Schniederman announced a lawsuit against John Kniery, a home improvement contractor who runs the company Tree Service by John. Mr. Kniery, who performs tree removal and trimming services, is accused of taking payments from consumers but failing to provide the services for which he was paid. Any work that Mr. Kniery did perform was allegedly never fully completed. Rarely, if ever, did Mr. Kniery enter into written contracts with consumers that complied with New York State law.

In one case, a consumer allegedly paid Mr. Kniery $2,000 in advance payments to remove several trees on his property. Mr. Kniery did not cut down all of the trees, nor did he remove any from the property, rendering the backyard unusable. Mr. Kniery did not complete the work despite repeated calls from the consumer, who ended up paying another company $350 to remove the debris from his yard.

“This alleged scam artist repeatedly ripped off New Yorkers by failing to provide the basic services that he promised,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Unscrupulous contractors should know that my office will not allow them to get away with blatant fraud against consumers. Homeowners should proceed with caution before paying for improvement services. I urge everyone to check our tips and immediately report these types of scams.”

Attorney General Schneiderman also charged that Mr. Kniery misled consumers by using the names of legitimate companies with which he has no relationship.

Mr. Kniery first came to the attention of the Town of Hamburg Police Department (“THPD”), which received a number of complaints about Mr. Kniery.  Consumers consistently complained that Mr. Kneiry did not do work for which he was paid, failed to complete jobs, or did work in a shoddy fashion. THPD referred the case to the Attorney General’s office, which filed this action after completing its investigation. Attorney General Schneiderman is seeking full restitution for consumers, civil penalties, and a court order requiring that Mr. Kniery post a $50,000 bond to protect consumers who may provide down payments in the future and enter into compliant written contracts with consumers.

Consumer Tips

  • Never agree to have work done on the spot.Determine exactly what you want done and 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.
  • Get it in writing. The contract prepared must be a written contract that includes the price and description of the work needed.
  • Don't 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.
  • Get references. Check with the Better Business Bureau, banks, suppliers, and neighbors. Always contact references provided to you.
  • Know your rights. You have three days to cancel after signing a contract for home improvements. All cancellations must be in writing.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General James M. Morrissey, Karen Davis, Senior Consumer Fraud Representative, and Legal Intern Nathan Woodard in the Buffalo Regional Office. The Buffalo Regional Office is led by Assistant Attorney General In Charge Michael Russo. The Division of Regional Offices is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Marty Mack.