Originally on WRAL

January 23, 2019

Attorney General Josh Stein filed a lawsuit Wednesday against a contractor accused of taking money from Triangle residents without doing the work they’ve promised to perform.

“It’s simple: when you take someone’s money and agree to do a job, you have to follow through,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “My office is taking these contractors to court to keep them from taking advantage of more North Carolinians.”

The deceptive trade practices lawsuit is against the following defendants: George Edward Hall, Patricia Roberts, Carolina Structures Inc., Titan Concrete Inc., Valley Sheds LLC, Carolina Buildings LLC, Titan Outdoor Impressions Inc., Kahuna Concrete and Affordable Contractors.

The suit alleges that Hall, an unlicensed contractor, and Roberts, who assists his daily business operations, operate a contracting business under multiple names. Hall enters into an agreement with people requiring them to pay significant advances before work begins, but he then fails to do the work or refund the advance.

Stein said his office has received 18 complaints about Hall, Roberts and their companies so far. Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a contractor scam can file a complaint with Attorney General's Office.

The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the defendants, as well as civil penalties.

Stein offered the following tips for people to avoid contractor scams:

  • Check out a company before you decide to work with them. Contact the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau to learn about any complaints against the company. You can also ask the company for references.
  • Get written estimates and compare bids. Ask friends and neighbors for references instead of deciding to do business with someone who knocks on your door. Get at least three estimates in writing if possible. Before work begins, make sure you get a written contract that lists all the work to be performed, its costs, a payment schedule and a completion date.
  • Beware of up-sells. Some companies will come to your house to perform a service or repair at a low advertised rate, but when they arrive, they point out various expensive and alarming problems that supposedly need attention right away. By the time they leave, you may have paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for unneeded services.
  • Ask about guarantees. Most companies will guarantee their work or the product for a certain period of time. Make sure to get this information in writing before you sign a contract.
  • Do not pay for work up front. Inspect the work and make sure you’re satisfied before you pay. A reasonable down payment may be required, but don’t pay anything without getting a written contract. Avoid paying with cash; use a check or a credit card instead.
  • Remember your right to cancel. Transactions that take place at a location that is not the seller’s normal place of business, including your home, are eligible under state law to be canceled up to three days after you sign the contract. The seller should include instructions on how to cancel in the written contract. You must notify them in writing if you change your mind within that three-day period.