COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a lawsuit against a Columbus home improvement contractor accused of failing to provide promised services to consumers in central Ohio.
The lawsuit accuses Midwest Construction Services and Roofing LLC, Jason Hauser, and William Williams of violating Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and Home Solicitation Sales Act. Attorney General DeWine seeks reimbursement for affected consumers and an end to any violations of the law.
“Consumers deserve to receive what they pay for. In this case, many of them did not,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We’re taking this action to seek reimbursement for harmed consumers and to protect other consumers from being harmed by these operators in the future.”
According to the lawsuit, Midwest Construction Services and Roofing LLC offers kitchen and bath remodeling, roofing, and other home improvement services to consumers. The owner is Jason Hauser. William Williams (Hauser’s father-in-law) is an employee who allegedly had significant control over the day-to-day operations of the company.
Since 2016, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received 21 complaints against Midwest Construction. The Attorney General’s lawsuit accuses Midwest, Hauser, and Williams of failing to deliver services, performing shoddy and substandard work, failing to honor cancellation notices, and failing to provide consumers with proper notice of their cancellation rights.
Separate from this case, William Williams was convicted of theft in Licking County in 2006 related to home improvement services. He also was sued by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in 1986 and in 2002 for consumer protection violations.
To help consumers avoid home improvement problems, Attorney General DeWine offered the following recommendations:
Research a company carefully before making any payments. Search for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Better Business Bureau. Check to see if the business is registered with the Ohio Secretary of State. Conduct an internet search with the name of the business and its operators. Check court records available online. Even if you find no information about a company, be skeptical because some operators change business names regularly.
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.
Check your cancellation rights. If a seller 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 verbal promises are put in writing. Get a detailed written contract including any verbal claims the contractor makes and other important details, such as the estimated cost of the work, the expected start and end dates, and the names of the individuals who will perform the services.
Be wary of requests for large down payments or cash 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. Also be wary if you’re asked to pay in cash, which will be difficult to recover if something goes wrong.
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.
A copy of today’s lawsuit, which was submitted to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, is available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.
Story courtesy of Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office.