Ohio Attorney General seeks restitution from two home improvement contractors

crime & court newsCOLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced lawsuits against two home improvement contractors accused of failing to provide promised services to Ohio consumers.

In separate lawsuits:

Richard A. Gazella, of Willowick, and his business, Revolution Roofing LLC, are accused of performing incomplete or shoddy roof work after allegedly taking more than $5,000 total from three consumers in Cuyahoga County; and
James McClanahan, of Galion, doing business as JM Construction Home Improvement, is accused of performing incomplete or shoddy remodeling services after allegedly taking more than $10,250 total from three consumers, who lived in Richland, Huron, and Crawford counties.

In both lawsuits, the Attorney General accuses the defendants of violating Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and seeks restitution for consumers, an end to any violations of the law, and civil penalties.

“Most home repair contractors do good work,” Attorney General DeWine said. “But there are a few operators who fail to do what they are paid to do. In these cases, our goal is to protect consumers and to stop any violations of Ohio’s consumer protection laws.”

Consumers can help protect themselves from home improvement problems by taking the following steps:

  • Research the business. Check for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau. Conduct a basic Internet search of the business’s name and words like “complaints,” “reviews,” or “scam.” Also talk to your neighbors and other past customers to ask about their experiences with the business.
  • Get multiple estimates. Be wary if one contractor quotes a price that is dramatically lower than the prices other businesses are offering. The contractor later may demand more money or fail to complete the work as promised.
  • Don’t make large payments in advance. Be wary of contractors who demand large upfront payments, such as half or more of the total cost.
  • Get a detailed written contract. Insist on a written contract detailing the costs, the work to be done, and the starting and end dates. If the contract resulted from a door-to-door sale, make sure it includes notice of your cancellation rights under Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales Act.
  • Consider paying with a credit card. Paying with a credit card generally gives you greater protections to dispute unauthorized charges, especially compared to paying in cash.

Consumers who suspect an unfair or deceptive sales practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.