A.G. Underwood Secures Court Victory Against Rochester Home Improvement Contracting Business

News from the New York Attorney General's Office 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2018

Attorney General's Office Press Office / 212-416-8060
nyag.pressoffice@ag.ny.gov 

A.G. UNDERWOOD SECURES COURT VICTORY AGAINST ROCHESTER HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTING BUSINESS

A-S Contracting and Operators Alvis Sprague and Sarah Crawford Must Pay $52k in Restitution and $50k in Penalties, Are Permanently Barred from Working in Home Improvement Contracting Business in New York State 

Consumers Who May Have Been Defrauded by A-S Contracting Should Contact A.G.’s Office by November 9th 

A.G. Underwood Reminds New Yorkers of Tips for Selecting a Home Improvement Contractor

ROCHESTER – Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood announced today a court win for New York consumers against Rochester-based home improvement contracting business A-S Contracting, and their operators Alvis Sprague and Sarah Crawford. Monroe County Supreme Court ordered Sprague and Crawford to pay $52,501 in restitution to consumers and $50,150 in penalties and costs, and completely banned both Sprague and Crawford from working in the home improvement contracting business in New York State; the order will apply to Sprague and Crawford personally and follow them permanently – even if they use a difference business name. The court also issued a permanent injunction against Sprague and Crawford, banning both from taking deposits for any kind of work until they post $100,000 bond.

“Consumers deserve the services for which they pay. The court order we secured will ensure consumers get the restitution they deserve, while permanently banning these scammers from the home improvement contracting business in New York,” said Attorney General Underwood. “We will continue to hold accountable those who try to deceive New Yorkers.” 

Between November 2014 and June 2018, Sprague and Crawford repeatedly and persistently defrauded consumers in the Rochester area by receiving full or partial payments for home improvement projects but failing to complete any work or – when work was performed – doing so in a shoddy and unprofessional manner. They promised refunds to consumers but never paid them. Ten consumers lost over $52,000 in deposits and additional funds needed to repair the poor workmanship left behind by Sprague and Crawford. In July 2018, the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against A-S Contracting.

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.
  • 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.

Consumers who have not already filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s office and believe they may have been defrauded by A-S Contracting should call the Rochester Regional Office’s Consumer Helpline at (585) 327-3240 or complete a complaint form online.

If you are eligible to receive restitution as part of this case, your complaint form and supporting documents, such as a copy of the contract and canceled checks, must be postmarked or received by the Attorney General’s Rochester office on or before November 9, 2018.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Benjamin A. Bruce. The investigation was handled by Investigator Jessica Holland and Senior Consumer Frauds Representative Emily Brightman of the Rochester Regional Office, which is led by Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge Ted O’Brien. The Rochester Regional Office is a part of the Division of Regional Affairs, led by Acting Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Gary Brown.