A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement With Driveway Paving Contractor

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

September 14, 2017

Attorney General’s Press Office / 212-416-8060
Twitter: @AGSchneiderman


A.G. Encourages New Yorkers To File A Complaint With His Office If They Believe They’ve Been Ripped Off By R. Williams Paving

A.G. Schneiderman Offers Tips To Protect Consumers When Hiring A Home Improvement Contractor

BINGHAMTON - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with Richard Williams II, a home improvement contractor that does business under the name “R. Williams Paving” in Stillwater, who repeatedly and persistently ripped off consumers in the Southern Tier. Mr. Williams and his crew went door-to-door seeking to pave or repair driveways, but then performed poor and incomplete work, attempted to charge customers for extra work that was not initially agreed upon, and failed to abide by New York’s home improvement contract laws. As part of the agreement with the Attorney General, Mr. Williams paid $2,884 in consumer restitution and $2,000 in penalties and costs; one consumer who had not yet paid for the work had her contract cancelled.

“New Yorkers deserve to receive the full services they paid for, in a professional and timely manner – not be duped by fraudulent businesses seeking to make a few extra bucks,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will continue to hold those accountable who try to take advantage of consumers.”

Any New Yorkers who believe they have been ripped off by Williams may file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by October 23, 2017 for restitution. New Yorkers can file a complaint online or call the Consumer Hotline at (800) 771-7755.

Williams and his crew would go door to door in neighborhoods in Broome and Tioga County and tell consumers that they had an extra load of blacktop in the back of their trucks. They claimed that they could give the homeowners a good price for the work and that they would do quality work. Williams and his crew would quote a price for the work, but did not furnish homeowners with written contracts prior to performing the work; they would then immediately begin working on the driveway and approach the homeowner asking for payment in an amount greater than initially quoted. The work was often poorly done, incomplete and performed in late November 2016 when it was too cold to properly apply blacktop.

In addition to paying consumer restitution, penalties, and costs, the agreement announced today calls for Williams to comply with New York’s Home Improvement Contract Law by furnishing consumers with written contracts before any work is performed. Those contracts must include, among other things, a description of the work to be performed, estimated dates when the work is to begin and be substantially completed, and a notice that the consumer has three business days to cancel. The agreement also prohibits Williams from performing and charging for more work than what was initially agreed upon.

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;
  • 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 here.

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