A.G. Schneiderman Announces Lawsuit Against Rochester Area Contractor For Allegedly Defrauding Consumers Who Used Snow Plow And Home Improvement Services

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2017

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

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES LAWSUIT AGAINST ROCHESTER AREA CONTRACTOR FOR ALLEGEDLY DEFRAUDING CONSUMERS WHO USED SNOW PLOW AND HOME IMPROVEMENT SERVICES 

Brian Robinson, Owner Of Apex Construction, Allegedly Bilked New Yorkers Out Of Over $24,000

Attorney General Seeking $175,000 In Penalties And Full Restitution For Defrauded Consumers

A.G. Schneiderman Also Offers Consumer Tips For Hiring A Home Improvement Contractor

ROCHESTER – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced legal action seeking an injunction against Brian Robinson, Owner of Apex Construction, for allegedly bilking New Yorkers out of over $24,000. The lawsuit alleges that Robinson persistently defrauded Rochester-area consumers by demanding full or partial payments in advance for snowplowing and home improvement projects, but either failed to provide the service or completed the projects in a shoddy and unprofessional manner. Following unsatisfactory service, Robinson promised many consumers refunds but did not administer them. Today’s action would require Robinson to pay full restitution to impacted New Yorkers, in addition to a $175,000 penalty.

“New Yorkers who spend their hard-earned money to hire a contractor deserve to have the work fully completed and handled with care—not tricked into paying for services they will never receive,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office won’t hesitate to take action against crooked contractors and ensure that New Yorkers are protected from fraud.”

According to papers filed by the Attorney General in Monroe County Supreme Court, Robinson defrauded 34 consumers—collectively costing them a total of over $24,000 in deposits and additional funds needed to repair poor workmanship left behind by Robinson.

As a result, the Attorney General is seeking full restitution for the defrauded consumers. The Attorney General is also seeking a permanent injunction against Robinson that will bar him from taking advance payments or operating a home improvement business in New York, unless he posts a $100,000 bond, in addition to the $175,000 penalty, that can be used as a safety net for future consumer claims. Robinson will appear in court on September 20, 2017 before New York State Supreme Court Justice Ann Marie Taddeo to answer the charges.

When planning to use a home improvement contractor, consumers should consider the following tips:

  • 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.
  • Don’t pay unreasonable sums in advance; 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.

Additional information on how to avoid fraudulent home improvement contractors can be found on the Attorney General’s Website.

Consumers who believe they may have been defrauded by or have unresolved disputes with a home improvement contractor are urged to call the Attorney General’s Consumer Help Line at (800) 771-7755.

This case is being handled by Benjamin Bruce, Assistant Attorney General of the Rochester Regional Office, led by Ted O’Brien, Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge. The Rochester Regional Office is a part of the Division of Regional Offices, led by Marty Mack, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Offices.