Ohio AG Sues Home Improvement Contractor

February 1, 2005

Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro has filed suit against Better Plumbers and Home Improvement Inc., and its owner, James Durkin, in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Petro alleges that Durkin and his company failed to deliver products ordered by consumers, performed shoddy work, failed to obtain necessary permits and licenses and continued to operate after a court ordered them to cease business until proper permits and licenses were obtained. Consumer complaints received in Petro’s office claim losses between $300 and $10,000.

“Unscrupulous contractors are receiving large down payments to perform work and either failing to honor their agreements or performing such shoddy work that consumers are forced to hire someone else to correct the problems,” Petro said.

On Dec. 17, 2002, Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, in James Durkin d.b.a. Better Plumbing & Home Improvement v. Shirley Nichols, ruled that Durkin and his company could not do business until it was properly licensed and paid all judgments, as well as any consumer transaction that was still outstanding. Despite this ruling, consumer complaints received by Petro’s office show that Durkin is reportedly ignoring this order by continuing to conduct business, which is a violation of Ohio’s consumer laws.

Petro asked the court to issue an order that would permanently prohibit Better Home Improvement and Durkin from conducting plumbing and home improvement business in Ohio.

Petro also asked that the court order Durkin and his company to refund consumers and pay a civil penalty.

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