23 July

NYS Chief law officer: Owner of CNY Drain Cleaning and Plumbing, preyed mainly on elders

 

Chief law officer Eric T. Schneiderman today revealed that his office has gotten an order, signed by Supreme Court Justice Anthony J. Paris June 22, barring Robert F. Culkin, Jr., from carrying out any plumbing operate in connection with his drain cleaning and home improvement contracting company. In addition, the Court ordered that Culkin revise his agreements to consist of all disclosures needed by the New York State Home Improvement Contract law and that he obtain an agreement signed by the consumer and himself prior to beginning work.

 

Culkin’s contracts and advertisements must also plainly and notably reveal to customers that he operates a drain-cleaning service only, that he is not a plumber and is restricted from carrying out any plumbing services. Once the agreement is signed, Culkin is restricted from enhancing the costs after job completion. Culkin needs to pay eight customers restitution totaling $8,224.38 and discharge account balances completing $31,737.60 for an extra 10 consumers.

 

Based upon customer grievances, many of them senior citizens age 65 and older, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman commenced an investigation of Culkin, owner of CNY Drain Cleaning and Plumbing. Customers had actually grumbled that Culkin had actually orally misrepresented the cost of the task he was phoned call to do, cannot supply written agreements prior to commencing work, required consumers sign blank documents, which he then used to develop exactly what seemed a signed billing, grossly overcharged for services rendered, did more work than he was authorized to do, did poor quality work, charged for services he did not carry out (such as cleaning and disinfecting), and cannot prompt total jobs. Numerous customers who had chosen not to pay the exorbitant prices he required upon job conclusion likewise complained that they had felt threatened by his efforts to collect payment.

 

When hiring somebody to carry out a service, hardworking New York consumers deserve to get the services they spent for at the rate they were estimated, in a way that is both timely and expert, Schneiderman stated. This order sends out the message that fraudulent home contractors who prey on unsuspecting New Yorkers will be held liable.

Culkin promoted that he was a plumber with the ability of handling all plumbing, drain and sewage system issues, in spite of the fact that he did not hold a plumbing license and was not permitted to carry out any plumbing operate in Onondaga County. Mr. Culkin had actually consistently neglected an Order issued by the Commissioner of the Onondaga County Department of Water Environment Protection forbidding him from breaching state and local plumbing laws, consisting of failure to get the needed licenses and inspections.

 

The lawsuit filed by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman s office Feb. 1, declared that Culkin had violated numerous consumer protection laws, consisting of laws prohibiting deceptive and unlawful company practices and incorrect marketing, as well as laws governing home improvement contractors and door-to-door sales. Because numerous consumers were elders, ages 65-91, the Attorney General asked the Court to impose a civil charge for scams committed versus elderly persons.

 

The Attorney General likewise alleged that Culkin wrongly marketed that he ran a 24-hour business and utilized trained professionals. Culkin was not offered to supply day-and-night services because he ran a solo operation and held another full-time job. Additionally, consumers were often charged extremely high after-hour rates for jobs that could have been finished during the day, but which he needed to start or complete in the evening or on weekends.

 

Subsequently, the court’s order needs Culkin to inform consumers if they are going to be charged greater after-hour rates so they can decide whether to sign the contract.

Consumers who have unsolved disagreements involving Culkin and CNY Drain Cleaning and Plumbing Services are directed to call the Attorney General s Office at 1-800-771-7755 or 315-448-4848. When considering to use a home contractor, consumers ought to think about the following ideas:

 

Never accept have actually work done on the spot, especially when possible professionals are marketing door-to-door. Determine exactly what you desire done, then search for a qualified specialist.

 

Look around; get at least three estimates from reliable contractors that include specific details about the products and services to be provided.

Request referrals: talk to the Better Business Bureau; banks; providers; and neighbors. Always get in touch with any recommendations supplied to you.

Demand a written contract that consists of the price and description of the work required. Do not pay unreasonable advance amounts; work out a payment schedule tied to the conclusion of specific phases of the job. Never pay the complete cost in advance. Remember that you have 3 days to cancel after signing a home enhancement agreement, however all cancellations must be in composing.

 

 

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