HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that his Bureau of Consumer Protection has filed 35 legal actions in 17 counties across Pennsylvania involving home improvement contractors.
The legal actions were part of a statewide home improvement initiative that ran Oct. 2018 through April 2019, and focused on contractors’ compliance with the Commonwealth’s Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA).
Home improvement contractors are required to register with the Bureau of Consumer Protection biannually under HICPA.
Over 70,000 contractors are currently registered with the Bureau under HICPA.
The legal actions address issues of non-registration, or failure to maintain current registration; the use of contracts that failed to comply with the requirements under HICPA; and failing to begin work, complete work, or completing work in a substandard, shoddy manner.
Of the 35 legal actions: 18 lawsuits were filed, nine Assurances of Voluntary Compliance were filed, and three enforcement actions were taken for failure to comply with court order. Five actions were previously filed and publicized.
The complete list of contractors and legal actions against them can be found here.
“My Bureau of Consumer Protection nailed it on this initiative — enforcing HICPA to ensure Pennsylvanians aren’t taken advantage of by unscrupulous home improvement contractors who refuse to comply with the requirements and who fail to keep up their end of the bargain,” Attorney General Shapiro said in a release. “When consumers hire a contractor to work on their home, they have a right under Pennsylvania law to work with a legitimate business.”
In one instance, a consumer in Cambria County was scammed by a home improvement contractor company, Gillin Construction, to restore their roof. Last September, the consumer entered into a $6,700 contract with the company and paid a $4,000 down payment for Gillin Construction to begin work, but the contractor left the consumer’s home unfinished after ripping the shingles off of their roof. The consumer only saw the contractor again when he came back to ask for more money, not to work on the roof. Additionally, leaking from their unfinished roof caused $3,500 worth of damages inside the house.
“Gillin Construction said they had performed some repairs for my neighbors, so I trusted them,” the unidentified customer said. “It was an incredibly frustrating time for my family when we had to pay another contractor $4,700 to complete the work that Gillin left unfinished. It only took them three hours to cover the part of my roof that was leaking. I am grateful to Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s Bureau of Consumer Protection for taking action to prevent other consumers from being scammed by a home improvement contractor.”
Shapiro said he urges contractors to become familiar with HICPA’s requirements for compliant contracts and acceptable deposits, among other things.