Attorney General Mike DeWine has filed a lawsuit against Weather Guard Exteriors, a roof installation and home repair company, and owner/operator Justin R. Ward, of Canton. The complaint alleges that Ward accepted payment from consumers but failed to deliver any materials or services and did not provide refunds.
"It's vital that consumers get what they pay for," DeWine said. "This is especially important when it is a matter of families trying to care for their homes and giving their loved ones a safe place to live."
On at least four occasions, consumers purchased roof replacement or other services from the business, but no work was done and payments were not refunded, according to the complaint. In other instances, water leaked into consumers' homes even though the defendants had indicated that the work was completed.
At least seven Ohio victims have been identified with total losses of $20,000. The complaint seeks restitution for all consumers found to have been harmed by the defendants, injunctive relief, and penalties.
Separately, Ward has been convicted of theft violations in Cuyahoga County and ordered to pay restitution involving three other consumers who had also filed complaints with the Attorney General's Office. Additional consumer complaints have been made against Ward in Missouri and Oklahoma.
DeWine offered the following tips for homeowners who are looking for contractors and/or other home repair services:
* Research the contractor before signing any contract. Obtain the name, address, and phone number of any contractor agreeing to do work for you. Ask for identification from the company's representative. Check out consumer complaints with the Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau.
* Be cautious. Do not accept services from any contractor who refuses to provide proper identification, does not have a permanent place of business, cannot provide references, or insists on a large payment before work begins.
* Get written estimates. Do some shopping and get estimates from more than one contractor. Refuse to do business with a company that does not provide a written estimate.
* Get a sworn statement. Insist that the contractor provide you with a sworn statement that all materials have been paid for and all subcontractors have been paid. This will protect you from liens which may be placed on your property if the contractor fails to pay all suppliers and subcontractors.
For more information, or to file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's Office, call (800) 282-0515 or visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.
A copy of the lawsuit can be found by clicking on the link below.