Brian Robinson, Owner Of Apex Construction And Robinson And Son, Inc., Bilked New Yorkers Out Of Over $42,000.
Rochester, NY - November 7, 2017 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office won a lawsuit for consumers against Brian Robinson, a Rochester-based home improvement contractor and snowplow operator who bilked New Yorkers out of over $42,000. Robinson, who owned and operated Apex Construction and Robinson and Son, Inc., must now pay $42,085 in restitution to consumers and $50,000 in penalties and costs.
An investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s office uncovered that Robinson defrauded consumers by taking deposits and keeping their money without ever performing the home improvement, snow plowing, and tree removal services he was contracted to do—even following blizzards and Hurricane Irma. In addition to the restitution and penalties, the order issued by New York State Supreme Court Justice Ann Marie Taddeo bans Robinson from taking any advance payments, including deposits for materials, until he posts a $100,000 insurance bond. The bond will protect consumers and ensure that they can file a claim against Robinson to get their money back if he fails to perform the work. Additionally, the court order completely bans Robinson from the home improvement contracting business. The order will apply to Robinson personally and follow him permanently, even if he uses a different business name.
“When New Yorkers hire a contractor, they need to know they’ll get the services they’ve paid for,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “By failing to provide the services promised, this contractor created an unacceptable public safety risk in the wake of extreme weather, while scamming New Yorkers out of their hard earned money. We will keep working to bring fraudulent contractors to justice.”
The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that between November 2011 and October 2017, Robinson repeatedly and persistently defrauded consumers from the Rochester area. Robinson collected full or partial payments from consumers for snowplowing, tree removal or trimming, and home improvement projects but failed to complete the work. According to consumer complaints, when Robinson did complete projects, they were done in a shoddy and unprofessional manner. Robinson later promised refunds to consumers but never paid them. In total, 40 consumers lost over $42,000 in deposits and additional funds needed to repair poor workmanship Robinson left behind. Nine of the consumers even obtained Small Claims Court judgments, but Robinson refused to pay the judgments.
Consumers who have not already filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s office and believe they may have been defrauded by Brian Robinson, should call the Attorney General’s Consumer Help Line in the Rochester Regional Office at (585) 327-3240 or file an online complaint.
To be eligible for restitution, the complaint form and supporting documents (such as a copy of the contract and canceled check) must be received at the Attorney General’s Office on or before February 2, 2018.
The Attorney General encourages homeowners to consider the following tips when planning to use a home improvement contractor:
Never agree to have work done on the spot, especially when potential contractors are marketing door-to-door
Determine exactly what you want done, then look for a qualified contractor
Shop around; get at least three estimates from reputable contractors that include specific information about the materials and services to be provided
Ask for references: check with the Better Business Bureau, banks, suppliers, and neighbors.
Always contact any references provided to you
Insist on a written contract that includes the price and description of the work needed
Do not pay unreasonable advance sums; negotiate a payment schedule tied to the completion of specific stages of the job
Never pay the full price up front
Remember that you have three days to cancel after signing a home improvement contract, but all cancellations must be in writing
The case is being handled by Benjamin Bruce, Assistant Attorney General, the investigation was handled by Inv. Jessica Holland both of the Rochester Regional Office which is led by Ted O’Brien, Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge. The Rochester Regional Office is a part of the Division of Regional Offices, led by Marty Mack, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Offices.