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State seeks consumer restitution and penalties from Northwest Ohio roofer

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Apr 3, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced a lawsuit against Barnes Construction Companies, Inc. and its owners Christopher and Christina Barnes. The lawsuit charges the Maumee roofing business with performing shoddy work and failing to deliver services to consumers.

"Consumers who entrust businesses with their hard-earned dollars rightly expect to get what they were promised and what they paid for," DeWine said. "By law businesses must honor their agreements with consumers, and my office is committed to making sure they do."

According to the lawsuit, Barnes Construction offered roofing and construction services to consumers in Lucas County. Despite collecting payment for services, the business performed shoddy work, or in some cases, did no work at all. One consumer won a new roof from Barnes Construction through a sweepstakes. The consumer expected to receive the new roof, but the business never delivered the services and did not return the consumer's calls.

The lawsuit charges the business and its owners with multiple violations of Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act. Counts include failure to deliver, performing shoddy work, and violating the Prize Rule. In the lawsuit, Attorney General DeWine seeks consumer restitution, injunctive relief, and civil penalties.

Before entering into a home improvement contract, consumers should follow these guidelines:

    Research a business with the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Better Business Bureau to determine whether other consumers have filed complaints.

    Ask for references and personally speak to previous customers of the business to ask about their experiences.

    Get written estimates from three or more different contractors before hiring one.

    Be wary of businesses that require a large down payment (such as 50 percent of the total cost) before starting any work.

    Get a detailed contract that includes all necessary information, such as start and end dates and a breakdown of all costs.

Consumers who have questions or complaints about how they have been treated by any business should contact the Ohio Attorney General's Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov. A copy of the lawsuit is available on the Ohio Attorney General's website.

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