Mass. AG Obtains Extended Court Order Against Contractor from Performing Home Improvement Work

May 25, 2005

A Hampden Superior Court judge has granted an extended court order prohibiting a Westfield, Massachusetts-based contractor from performing home improvement jobs indefinitely, Attorney General Tom Reilly announced.

The court order stems from a lawsuit AG Reilly filed less than a week ago alleging that Reliable Construction and Andrew Clough, both of Westfield, deceived area consumers into signing contracts for major home renovations, collected hefty deposits and then failing to deliver.

Recently, attorneys from AG Reilly’s Western Massachusetts Division successfully argued for an emergency court order shutting down Clough’s contracting business. The order granted, by Judge McDonald, will remain in place until the lawsuit is resolved.

“This contractor collected substantial deposits and then failed to perform the work or did substandard work, leaving homeowners in difficult situations,” Reilly said. “My office will make every effort to get money back for those consumers who were harmed by this business.”

Reilly’s lawsuit alleges that Clough has been misleading consumers into paying thousands of dollars in deposits – ranging from $12,000 to $54,000 – for substandard or incomplete work. Homeowners also paid deposits in advance well in excess of the one-third of the total cost of the project permitted by law.

To date, 16 consumers have filed complaints against Reliable Construction or Clough alleging that he failed to complete a job or did substandard work.

Reilly’s lawsuit alleges that Clough and Reliable Construction violated the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act and the Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractor Act by: executing contracts and taking payments for home improvement services and then failing to deliver the services; making false representations about how quickly they could complete their work; pressuring consumers into paying deposits in excess of one-third of the project’s cost; refusing to give homeowners refunds even thought they did not finish the promised work; and failing to obtain construction permits.

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