Two North Carolina home-repair companies have been ordered to pay more than $700,000 in refunds and penalties for having misled dozens of consumers, according to the office of N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper.
A Wake County Superior Court judge has ordered Brian William Smith of Eagle Roofing and Restoration to pay more than $148,000 in restitution to consumers, and pay up to $366,709 in civil penalties and investigation costs. Defendant James Stevens Jr. of Jim’s Black Top Paving, meanwhile, must pay $48,750 in restitution and up to $196,750 in civil penalties and investigation costs.
According to the complaint filed by Cooper’s office in April 2014, Eagle Roofing and Restoration misled homeowners into paying for repair services by claiming that their roofs showed signs of storm damage. After customers signed contracts for repair work and received checks from their insurance companies, Eagle Roofing and Restoration charged half of the repair cost upfront, regularly took the money without finishing repairs, and in some cases never began the work, the complaint said.
Eagle Roofing and Restoration also operated as GBS Roofing and operated in Wilmington, Sanford, and Apex. Company owner Brian William Smith’s location is currently unknown.
Cooper alleged in his May 2013 complaint against Stevens that his company talked consumers into paying thousands of dollars for driveway paving services and refused to pay refunds when cracks appeared shortly after work was completed. The company also failed to inform customers of their rights to cancel within three days of purchase, the complaint said.
Jim’s Black Top Paving also operated as J&J Paving and Big Time Paving, and worked on projects across North Carolina.
“These North Carolina consumers deserve to get their money back,” Cooper said in a press release. “Don’t do business with anyone who shows up at your home and asks you to pay upfront for roofing, paving or other repairs.”
The default judgments permanently bar each defendant from operating home-repair businesses in North Carolina. Eagle Roofing and Restoration also was banned from assisting consumers with insurance claims. Cooper’s office will work to collect on the judgment and return refunds to consumers.
Cooper’s office offers the following tips to avoid hiring problems.
Never pay the full cost of repair work upfront. Make sure you’re satisfied with the result before making the final payment.
Always ask for a written contract that lists all the work to be performed, the cost, and the completion date.
Know your right to cancel. Under N.C. law, transactions that take place at your home can be cancelled up to three days after you sign the contract.