State sues contractors after complaints from consumers

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The state Attorney General’s Office has sued two contractors, saying they did not meet contract requirements or finish repairs as promised. One of the defendants includes a company Fox59 received complaints about several months ago.

The defendants are Patriot Restoration of New Castle, LLC, in Henry County and Reliable Home Improvements, LLC, in Lake County.

Since November 2011, at least 27 customers signed contracts with Patriot Restoration of New Castle for roof replacements and other work. In the majority of cases, a representative came to customers’ homes and offered to work with insurance carriers to repair storm damage.

Homeowners paid for contracts that didn’t meet state requirements. The state also said the company didn’t finish the work or give refunds. The Attorney General’s Office filed the complaint in Henry County Circuit Court against company owners Richard Moghadam and Jennifer Collier. The company is accused of violating the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, Indiana Home Solicitation Sales Act and Home Improvement Contracts Act.

A separate lawsuit filed in Lake County concerns Reliable Home Improvements and owners Eric D. Norwood and Joe Callahan. Five customers filed complaints after the company helped them obtain bank financing and then failed to fulfill contracts or give refunds.

The lawsuit says Reliable Home Improvements acted as a credit services organization by helping customers obtain credit that requires them to obtain a surety bond. The company is accused of violating the Home Improvement Contracts Act, Credit Services Organizations Act and the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.

The state is asking for consumer restitution, injunctive relief, investigative costs and civil penalties.

The office filed another lawsuit against an Indianapolis heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing company accused of overstating the urgency of repairs. Mister Quik Home Services is accused of trying to boost sales by misrepresenting the need for a repair and overcharging for it.

In one case, a customer said Mister Quik told him an electrical breaker needed an immediate replacement, with failure to do so resulting in a fire. The replacement cost $2,600, and the homeowner later found out that most contractors would’ve charged about half that amount for the same repair.

In another case, a customer said the company told him that his house could burn down unless he installed a new electrical panel on his furnace. The homeowner paid more than $2,900 for the repair.

In both cases, the Marion County Department of Code Enforcement said the company needed a permit for the home repairs although Mr. Quik did not obtain the proper permits before completing the work. The state said the company’s contracts also failed to meet state requirements.

The complaint accused the company of violating the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act and Indiana Home Improvement Contracts Act. The state is seeking injunctive relief, consumer restitution, investigative costs and civil penalties.

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