Ill. A.G.’s Office Cracks Down on Home Repair Fraud

October 8, 2004

Filing 12 fraud cases against businesses located in 10 counties across the state this week, the Office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan cracked down on one of the oldest and most consistent scams: con artists who prey on people’s dreams of home repairs, remodeling or improvement.

Taken together, the alleged con artists bilked more than 60 consumers out of more than $321,000. The type of fraud ranged from one elderly consumer who paid more than $400 when a scam artist told him he could stop his pine trees from shedding cones by putting nails covered with a special solution in the trees to a couple who paid nearly $8,000 for new windows and doors that were never installed.

Each of the cases contains at least one or more of the following charges: failing to perform contracted work, performing only some of the contracted work, performing poor quality work, and failing to inform consumers of their rights, including the three-day right to cancel a contract signed in their home.

Madigan said while Internet fraud and Do Not Call complaints tend to grab headlines, construction and home improvement complaints consistently rank near the top of the annual list of Top 10 consumer complaints the Illinois Attorney General’s office compiles each year.

In 2003, the category ranked second, behind telecommunications, with 2,207 complaints. And just last month, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) released its list of Top 10 complaints from Attorneys General throughout the nation: home repair/construction complaints ranked third. Madigan’s office has received 1,398 construction/home improvement complaints so far this year.

“Home repair and construction are very common and very costly consumer services, and unfortunately, they attract some scam artists whose main goal is to improve their finances, not their victims’ homes,” Madigan said. “Illinois has consumer protection laws that were written to go after these types of fraudulent contractors. My office uses these laws aggressively and will continue to do so.”

The 12 cases involve businesses located in 10 counties, including Champaign, Cook, DuPage, Ford, Franklin, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Sangamon and Winnebago. Eleven of the 12 cases allege violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and/or the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act. The final case charges the defendant with criminal contempt.

For more information on the cases, visit

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