Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Monday announced a consumer protection lawsuit against a man accused of repeatedly failing to deliver promised home improvement services to customers.
The attorney general’s lawsuit, filed Thursday in Butler County Common Pleas Court, accuses Christopher D. Craft, operating as New Century Remodeling, of taking money from consumers and then failing to perform the work or to provide refunds.
Those actions, or alleged lack thereof, would be a violation of Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act by failing to deliver promised services and by taking on new customers despite having unsatisfied judgments from past consumer transactions, according to DeWine’s office.
Consumers in southwest Ohio complained that they paid Craft’s business hundreds or thousands of dollars for work that was never completed. In the lawsuit, the attorney general seeks a permanent injunction to prevent Craft from starting a new home improvement business in Ohio and damages for consumers.
According to the lawsuit, Craft currently lives in Florida, but he had been operating from Batavia, under the name New Century Remodeling. Before that, he operated under the name Columbia Exteriors, a company the Attorney General sued in 2016 for consumer protection violations. In that case, a judge in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court ruled that Craft and Columbia Exteriors were liable for more than $170,000 in restitution to 16 consumers.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office’s Consumer Protection Section has 29 complaints on file for Columbia Exteriors lodged between 2014 and 2016, except two filed from 2012 to 2013.
Three of those complaints were from Butler County.
The attorney general’s office has two complaints filed for New Century Remodeling, both of them in 2016, including one from a Butler County consumer.
“Many home improvement contractors do a great job, but there are some people who just don’t do the work they were paid to do,” DeWine said. “Our goal is to protect consumers and to do what we can to help them.”
Consumers should research home improvement contractors carefully before making any payments, according to the attorney general’s office. Consumers should check both the company name and the name of the owner or individuals involved with the operation, as some operators change business names regularly to make it harder for consumers to find their record of shoddy work.
To research a contractor, search for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Better Business Bureau, check business filings with the Ohio Secretary of State, conduct internet searches, check court websites for legal action, and talk to past customers to learn about their experiences with the contractor.
Consumers who suspect an unfair business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.