New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced a lawsuit against an Oneida County home improvement contractor for repeatedly and persistently defrauding consumers.
The lawsuit asserts that Daniel G. Bragg, who does business as Daniel G. Bragg Home Improvement Contracting in Vernon Center, engaged in fraud and deceptive practices in the conduct of his business. In addition, Bragg reportedly failed to comply with state consumer protection laws that require home improvement contracts to be in writing with a three-day right to cancel and to secure consumer deposits in separate escrow accounts.
“My office is dedicated to protecting consumers against unscrupulous home improvement contractors,” Spitzer said. “In filing this lawsuit, we seek a court injunction to ensure that this contractor’s fraudulent and illegal acts are stopped.”
Spitzer’s six-month investigation revealed that between April and October 2003, at least six consumers from New Hartford and Sherrill were defrauded by Bragg.
Some complained that they paid large up-front deposits and received nothing for their money. Others indicated that some work or materials were provided, but the project was never completed or was shoddy. All said that Bragg avoided their repeated attempts to contact him to reschedule missed start dates or obtain refunds.
One Oneida County woman contracted with Bragg last fall for the remodeling of her bathroom. Although she paid $801 as a deposit, Bragg reportedly never began the project. After repeated unsuccessful attempts over the next couple of months to contact Bragg to reschedule a start date, she finally wrote a letter demanding a refund. To date, she has not received a response and never obtained a refund.
In filing the lawsuit, Spitzer’s office seeks a court order permanently barring Bragg from the home improvement industry unless he posts a $50,000 performance bond. Spitzer’s office also seeks a full accounting of all monies received from consumers, copies of all contracts and a complete list of all customers.
In addition, Spitzer’s office seeks full monetary restitution and damages for all injured consumers, plus civil penalties for his violations of law and court costs.
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