AG: Scamming Syracuse contractor owes $40k to victims

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - A Syracuse contractor accused of defrauding customers and performing shoddy work must pay $40,000 in restitution to impacted customers, according to a settlement from the New York State Attorney General’s Office.  
 
In October 2017, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman brought a contempt case against Jason Briere after receiving multiple consumer complaints that revealed Briere was operating a home improvement contracting business in violation of a prior court order. 

He was operating under the name "Under Construction."
 
The original order was obtained in 2014, after the Attorney General sued Briere for engaging in repeated illegal and deceptive acts and practices. 
 
As a result of that lawsuit, Briere was prohibited from operating a contracting business unless he posted a $25,000 performance bond with the Attorney General’s office. 
 
However, the recent complaints revealed that Briere was continuing to engage in the very same deceptive acts and practices that were the basis for the Attorney General’s 2014 lawsuit.
 
In both instances, an investigation by the AG’s Office revealed that Briere had repeatedly defrauded consumers by failing to: perform work or complete work after receiving payment, provide refunds for incomplete or defective work, respond to consumer complaints, provide consumers with a written home improvement contract that complied with state law, deposit consumer down payments in escrow accounts, and give consumers notice of their three day right to cancel.
 
“This settlement is a win for impacted Syracuse consumers who were duped into forking over cash for shoddy work or for services that they never received,” said  Schneiderman. 
 
Briere will have to pay $40,420 to four customers who suffered damage from his fraudulent conduct. 
 
The restitution also covers 13 consumers impacted in the court’s original 2014 order.
 
New Yorkers who believe they were similarly defrauded should contact the AG’s office right away. 
 
In order to be eligible for restitution, consumers must file their complaints online or by phone at 315-448-4848 by March 12, 2018.
 
When planning to use a home improvement contractor, consumers should consider the following tips:

  • 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
  • Never agree to have work done on the spot, especially when potential contractors are marketing door-to-door
  • 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

Additional information on how to avoid home improvement scams can be found on the Attorney General’s Website.

 


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