Griffin | Williams LLP recently obtained a verdict on behalf of a homeowner and against a home remodel contractor and its owner for consumer fraud under the Illinois Home Repair And Remodel Act, 815 ILCS 513/1 et seq.
Following a two day trial, the Court found that the contractor and its owner failed to lawfully return a down payment following the cancellation of the home remodel contract between the parties. The Court further held that in attempting to keep the down payment, the contractor attempted to charge the homeowner for work never contemplated under the contract or performed as represented by the contractor’s owner. The Court specifically found that the contractor’s owner created a fraudulent invoice which purported to seek credit for thousands of dollars in sub-contractor payments and material purchases which never occurred. The Court’s verdict awarded the homeowner the return of his down payment, interest, attorney’s fees and punitive damages.
The verdict should be a warning sign to home owners and remodeling contractors alike. Construction remodel contracts should clearly and conspicuously detail all charges to be assessed as well as explain the procedures by which the contract can be cancelled. In addition, homeowners and contractors should ensure that accompanying each contract is a detailed estimate for the work as well as the “Homeowners: Know Your Consumer Rights” pamphlet available from the Illinois Attorney General.