The state attorney general's office has filled lawsuits against five home repair businesses, including one in Barrington, for defrauding homeowners out of $365,000, according to a press release.
North Point Exteriors Inc. and owner Lateef Farooqui, based in Barrington, is accused of offering unlicensed insurance adjusting services after storms in Chicago area communities. The company operated as “storm chasers,” soliciting consumers door to door who never saw repairs complete, according to a press release from attorney general Lisa Madigan's office.
Other lawsuits were filed against:
- National Restoration of Illinois— a Lake in the Hills-based business—and its president, John Curtis, are accused of operating as an unlicensed insurance adjuster, negotiating weather-related damages with a homeowner’s insurance company.
- Gulli Construction and owner Dominic Gulli, based in Chicago, for soliciting homeowners door to door for roofing and other repair work though not licenses. Gulli disappeared for weeks after contracting work with homeowners.
- Tropical Home Improvement Inc. and President Herberth Pulgarin, based in Addison, for accusations that the company pursued consumers for payment after performing no work and for offering unlicensed public adjusting services.
- Randy Oaks & Sons Asphalt Paving and Seal Coating, Randy Oaks Sr. and Randy Oaks Jr., based in Urbana: for allegedly soliciting older citizens door to door for asphalt work. After consumers paid the contractors for the work, the defendants demanded additional payments of thousands of dollars more under the threat of verbal and physical intimidation in order to complete the contracted work.
“In all of these cases, there were red-flag warnings that the contractors were up to no good,” said Madigan in a press release. “Any time a repair company solicits door to door or uses high-pressure tactics to sign up customers, it’s a signal that something is wrong. I urge homeowners to use extreme caution when hiring contractors. Do your homework and ask plenty of questions before signing anything.”
Madigan also reminded consumers in the news release that the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act requires contractors to furnish customers with written contracts for any repair or remodeling work costing more than $1,000.
A contract must be signed by both the customer and the contractor. The law also requires contractors to carry at least minimum amounts of insurance for property damage, bodily injury and improper home repair.
Contractors also must provide consumers with an informational pamphlet entitled “Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights.”
Homeowners are urged to contact the state attorney general's Consumer Fraud Hotline at (800) 386-5438 to report a home repair scheme or to learn tips for finding a reputable contractor.