Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett announced that his Bureau of Consumer Protection has filed a civil lawsuit against a Lackawanna County home improvement contractor accused of accepting substantial payments from consumers to perform home repairs that he either refused to start, complete or finished below standard.
Corbett identified the defendant as Jason Kupiec, of Taylor, Lackawanna County, owner of Rural Construction and Rally Roofing. The suit accuses Kupiec of violating Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.
Agents said Kupiec entered into contracts with consumers to perform various home improvement and construction projects. Prior to starting the jobs, the defendant reportedly required that consumers pay a significant deposit or the full amount of the contract.
The lawsuit follows an investigation into complaints from consumers who claimed that the defendant accepted their money and never showed up to do the work, or performed shoddy or below standard work. Other consumers claimed that Kupiec failed to return to their homes to complete the jobs as promised, repair his substandard work or return consumers’ money.
According to the lawsuit, the defendant accepted a down payment of nearly $3,800 from an Old Forge homeowner towards a roofing contract. Kupiec failed to perform any work and ignored repeated requests from the consumer to either do the work or issue a refund. Despite Kupiec’s reported promise to return the consumer’s money by January 2005, the homeowner has not received a refund.
Similarly, an Olyphant couple complained that they paid Kupiec nearly $4,000 to perform roof repairs on their home. The couple said Kupiec cashed their check and never returned to their home to perform the work. Again, the defendant allegedly promised to return the money but failed to make good on that promise.
In a separate count of the complaint, Kupiec is also accused of charging a Throop couple nearly $7,000 for a new roof that ended up being poorly constructed resulting in severe leaks in the consumers’ home. Kupiec reportedly refused to honor his contract warranties and return to the home to make the needed repairs. The roof was not repaired and the defendant reportedly failed to refund the consumers’ money.
Corbett said in another case, a homeowner complained that after the defendant repaired his roof it began leaking and then a section of the roof had blown off during a storm. According to that filed complaint, Kupiec failed to correct the problems or offer the homeowner a refund.
The lawsuit also accuses the defendant of failing to provide consumers with a notice of cancellation informing them of their right to void a contract within three days.
“We contend that Jason Kupiec has clearly defrauded consumers by cashing their payments and doing little to no home improvement work in violation of his own contracts,” Corbett said. “This business practice is unacceptable and today I ask the court to hold the defendant accountable for his actions.”
Corbett said the complaint asks the court to:
– Require the defendant to forfeit his right to conduct business as a contractor in Pennsylvania until he pays restitution, civil penalties and costs.
– Require the defendant to pay more than $24,000 to eight consumers, plus pay restitution to those who come forward with documentation of similar harm.
– Pay civil penalties of $15,000.
– Pay the Commonwealth’s investigation costs.
– Appoint a receiver if necessary to determine and collect the defendant’s assets to satisfy the court’s order.
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