(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced lawsuits against two Ohio home improvement businesses, a Springfield based tree-cutting business and a Cleveland-area home repair company, for multiple violations of Ohio consumer law.
“In both cases, the defendants accepted advance payment from Ohioans, but failed to do what they promised,” Attorney General DeWine said. “They also ignored repeated attempts to resolve complaints out of court. While my office aims to work with all Ohio businesses, companies that violate the law will be held accountable.”
The first lawsuit was filed in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas against James K. Hall, Kim Hall and Richard Abston, owners and operators of a Springfield based tree-cutting business. The defendants operated under various business names, including Nationwide Tree Service, Nationwide Tree and Mulch, Advanced Tree and Mulch, Nationwide Tree Care, Capital City Tree Care and Hall Tree Service.
Whichever business name the defendants used, consumers made the same or similar complaints. The defendants promised to cut down trees, grind out the stumps, and remove the mess. Instead, after taking consumers’ full payments, they cut down the trees and left without finishing the job. The lawsuit charges them with multiple violations of Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales Act and Consumer Sales Practices Act (CSPA), including failing to notify consumers of their three-day right to cancel, providing shoddy work, failing to deliver, and making misrepresentations about their service.
The second lawsuit, filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, charges Joseph Tribuzzo of Tribuzzo Construction with multiple violations of the CSPA. According to the lawsuit, Mr. Tribuzzo took advance payments for roofing and other home repair work, but failed to do the jobs or did shoddy work.
In both complaints, Attorney General DeWine seeks injunctive relief to stop further violations of consumer laws, full restitution for affected consumers and civil penalties.
As Ohioans plan for springtime repairs and landscaping work, Attorney General DeWine warns people to be wary of contractors who:
- Fail to provide notice of consumers’ three-day right to cancel door-to-door sales
- Use high pressure sales tactics
- Have a poor reputation or no reputation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Refuse to provide written information about the sales
When selecting a home improvement contractor, consumers should research the company with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the BBB. They also should contact past customers to ask about their experiences with the company. If possible, consumers should get written estimates from multiple contractors before making a final selection.
For more information or to report consumer fraud, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 1-800-282-0515.