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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 04, 2009
Settlements with concrete contractors pave way for consumer refunds

Attorney General’s Office alleges Spokane-based family business deceived homeowners

SPOKANE – A father-and-sons contracting business that built up a heap of customer complaints about shoddy service and unfair billing practices agreed to partial refunds for homeowners under two settlements announced today by the Washington Attorney General’s Office.

“We believe the Powells constructed new corporations to avoid liability and built their business on a foundation of misrepresentations,” said Assistant Attorney General Jacquelyn Findley, of the office’s Consumer Protection Division.

“Contractors must fairly represent their qualifications and perform the work as promised,” she added. “At the same time, it’s important for consumers to carefully consider who they hire to help with home improvements and repairs.”

The defendants, Tom Powell and his sons Neil, 28, and Jaymes, 23, live in Spokane and operate businesses under the names Neil’s Construction and Remodeling, LLC; CNJ Enterprises, LLC; Everything in the Dirt, Inc., AR Concrete and Decorative Concrete Concepts. They denied any wrongdoing but agreed to pay restitution to consumers under the settlements filed today in Spokane County Superior Court.

The defendants offer general contracting services, including remodel jobs, as well as constructing driveways, porches, concrete floors and swimming pools.

According to the state’s complaint, they started and completed projects late, frequently underbid projects then required customers to pay additional moneys and sometimes didn’t complete the work. They also allegedly misrepresented that they have specialized skills, failed to submit building plans and acquire necessary permits, neglected to regularly provide consumers with required notices informing them of their consumer    rights, often failed to complete the job or pay refunds and consistently were unresponsive to consumer complaints.

Findley said the Attorney General’s Office has received 29 complaints naming one or more of the defendants. The consumers live in Spokane or Northern Idaho.

The agreements prohibit the defendants from engaging in deceptive or unfair business practices in the future and require them to pay $40,000 as partial restitution to customers of CNJ Enterprises and Neil’s Construction and Remodeling, plus $7,500 as partial restitution for customers of Everything in the Dirt, doing business as Decorative Concrete Concepts. The Attorney General’s Office will distribute the money on a pro rated basis to qualifying consumers.

The agreements also include civil penalties, suspended as long as the defendants comply with the injunctive provisions and restitution requirements.

As a reminder, consumers can check www.contractors.lni.wa.gov to see whether a contractor is registered and whether there are claims on the contractor’s bond. Because the skills and qualifications of contractors can vary, consumers are advised to seek referrals and references, and to always solicit a written bid.

DOCUMENTS:

Complaint – all defendants

Consent Decree – Neil’s Construction and Remodeling, CNJ Enterprises, AR Concrete, Everything in the Dirt dba Decorative Concrete Concepts, Tom Powell, Neil Powell, Jaymes Powell

Consent Decree – Neil’s Construction and Remodeling, CNJ Enterprises, Tom Powell, Neil Powell


Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager – Seattle, (206) 464-6432, kalexander@atg.wa.gov

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