Home Contactor Accused of Failing to Deliver Services to Consumers in Central, Eastern Ohio
McCONNELSVILLE — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today (March 19) filed a consumer protection lawsuit against a contractor accused of taking money for home improvement services he never provided to consumers in central and eastern Ohio.
Patrick Eltringham, of Malta, and his company Logan-Madison Construction LLC are accused of violating state consumer protection laws.
At least 10 consumers have filed complaints against Logan-Madison Construction in the past two years saying they paid for roofs, pole barns, siding, kitchen repairs, additions, or other home improvement services they never received as promised. Consumers complained that the work was shoddy or incomplete. Estimated consumer losses total more than $100,000.
“In this case, we found a pattern of people not getting what they paid for,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Our goal in taking this action is to protect consumers.”
The Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed in the Morgan County Common Pleas Court, accuses Eltringham and Logan-Madison of failing to deliver promised services, performing shoddy work, and failing to provide required notices to consumers about their cancellation rights or construction contracts. In the lawsuit, the Attorney General seeks an end to any violations and reimbursement for affected consumers.
Attorney General DeWine offered consumers the following recommendations to avoid home improvement problems:
Research contractors carefully. Ask for recommendations, and talk to past customers about their experiences with a contractor. Search for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Find out if the business is registered with the Ohio Secretary of State. Conduct an online search of the business name and the owner’s name. Be skeptical if you find no information. Some operators change business names regularly to make it harder for consumers to detect their record of shoddy work.
Get multiple estimates. For a large job, consider contacting at least three different businesses before making a final selection. Keep in mind that the company that gives you the lowest estimate may not necessarily deliver the best results.
Understand your cancellation rights. If a home improvement contractor does not have a fixed place of business or comes to your door to offer services, you may be entitled to a three-day right to cancel the contract under Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales Act. Make sure you receive detailed written information about your cancellation rights.
Get verbal promises in writing. If a contractor makes verbal claims, make sure they are put in writing. Otherwise they are not guaranteed. Also make sure the written contract includes other important information such as the estimated cost, the expected start and end dates, and the names of the individuals who will perform the work.
Be wary of requests for large down payments. It’s reasonable for a contractor to require a down payment, but be skeptical if you’re asked to make a large down payment (such as half or more of the total cost) before any work begins. If possible, pay in increments as the work is completed.
Consumers who suspect an unfair or deceptive sales practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.
The case of the counterfeit counter tops
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that a Hamilton man has been indicted for allegedly stealing money from consumers after offering to install granite counter tops for them.
Michael J. Combs, 57, was indicted by a Hamilton County grand jury on the following charges:
- One count of theft beyond the scope, a fourth-degree felony
- One count of theft by deception, a fourth-degree felony
- Three counts of theft beyond the scope, fifth-degree felonies
- Three counts of theft by deception, fifth-degree felonies
Combs is accused of stealing about $19,300 from four consumers in the greater Cincinnati area. According to investigators, Combs operated under the names Granite Designs and First Choice Tops. He provided homeowners with estimates for new granite counter top installations and collected checks for the materials but allegedly never completed any of the work.
The case was investigated by the Ohio Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Unit, a division of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section. An attorney with the Economic Crimes Unit was appointed by the Hamilton County Prosecutor to handle the case as a special prosecutor.
Consumers who suspect a scam or unfair sales practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.