Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a consumer fraud lawsuit alleging a door-to-door home repairman soliciting storm-related roofing repair jobs in Cook, DuPage, Lake and Will Counties, accepted down payments for repair work and then either never began or never completed the projects or, in some cases, actually made the damage worse.
Since February of this year, Madigan’s office has reportedly received 52 consumer complaints alleging Robert K. Olson and his company, Hail Restoration Inc., accepted more than $225,000 in down payments from Illinois residents and then failed to repair damages to the consumers’ roofs. Sixteen of the 44 complaints have been filed by senior citizens.
Hail Restoration, an Illinois corporation registered in the state since December 2003, either has or has had offices in Elgin, Joliet, Naperville, Berwyn and Chicago. Currently, Hail Restoration’s main office is located at 75 Market St. in Elgin. Madigan’s case was filed in Cook County Circuit Court.
Madigan’s lawsuit alleges Olson travels the Chicago area going door-to-door to solicit work by claiming consumers’ homes have sustained roof damage during storms. Olson allegedly tells customers his company will repair damaged roofs and negotiate with insurance companies for a settlement. Many of the consumers allege they signed contracts with Olson during his first visit to their homes.
“Our case alleges that Robert Olson walks up to consumers’ doors with claims that he will fix damaged roofs,” Madigan said. “The fact that we’ve received so many complaints indicates that his real plans may have more to do with fraud and deception than actually providing repair services.”
According to the complaint, on one occasion in June 2004, the defendants informed an elderly Maywood resident that she was entitled to have the hail storm damage to her home repaired at no cost. The elderly woman signed a contract with the defendants and signed over a $7,843 insurance check to the defendants. Following that, the defendants reportedly never showed up at her home to begin the repair work.
The defendants have been charged with multiple violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the Home Repair and Remodeling Act for failing to complete the work for which they contracted and, in many cases where work was begun, for performing substandard work. Madigan’s complaint also alleges the defendants violated the law because they have never been obtained either a roofing license or a public adjuster’s license in Illinois and failed to inform customers of this. Finally, the complaint charges that consumers were not provided with the legally-required “Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights” pamphlet.
Madigan’s lawsuit asks the court to prohibit the defendants from engaging in the business of home repair and remodeling and from further violating Illinois’ consumer protection laws.
The lawsuit also seeks a civil penalty of $50,000 and additional penalties of $50,000 per violation found to be committed with the intent to defraud. Additionally, the suit seeks $10,000 per violation committed against a person 65 or older. Finally, Madigan’s lawsuit asks the court to order the defendants to pay restitution to consumers.
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