The Arizona attorney general's office has filed a lawsuit alleging a local man violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act by taking money for home improvement projects and not showing up to perform the work.
According to the lawsuit, the man targeted owners of newly constructed homes and offered to complete landscaping and other outdoor projects. He took money up front for the work, then showed up for just a few hours and never returned, leaving unfinished work
"It makes me really angry about it. It makes me so upset that someone would do this to multiple people," one consumer told 3 On Your Side, an Arizona consumer television segment.
The woman said she gave the man more than $16,500 earlier this year to landscape the front and back yards of her new home in Gilbert, Arizona.
The state's lawsuit says the man "took up-front payments from consumers and had no intention of providing the promised services."
The attorney general's office believes the man took at least $89,000 from consumers who though they had hired him. According to the lawsuit, the man "engaged in deception, deceptive or unfair acts or practices, fraud and false pretense..." when he accepted the money from consumers. When they contacted him, he gave excuses such as high blood pressure, flat tires, other work or family medical emergencies.
The office wants the court to ban the man from working in landscape construction, as well as returning any money he took. The office also is seeking a $10,000 penalty for every violation of the law.
In this case, the state is responding to complaints from numerous homeowners. But individuals who have been duped by a contractor, bought a home with defects, are dissatisfied with the work of a contractor and more also can seek restitution on their own through a civil lawsuit. An Arizona attorney who works with construction cases can advise homeowners in such instances.