Attorney General's office sues two contractors for consumer violations

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 13, 2016

CHARLESTON – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office has filed two suits against separate Kanawha Valley Contractors he says violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act.

The suits were filed against Anderson’s Handyman Service LLC and its managers, Gregory Anderson and Stephanie Anderson; and Walter D. Withrow.

For nearly 12 years, Withrow has engaged in the sale and provision of home improvement contracting services in West Virginia without a contractor license and in violation of other applicable state and federal laws, according to the suit.

Morrisey claims Withrow has received and subsequently violated at least seven cease and desist orders by the West Virginia Division of Labor beginning on Dec. 9, 2004, and most recently on July 5.

Withrow has also exhibited a pattern of accepting substantial down payments from consumers on home improvement contracts, not completing the work and in many cases, never returning to begin the work at all, according to the suit.

Morrisey claims that at least seven aggrieved consumers have filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Office reporting that they paid Withrow a total of $16,084 collectively for work not performed satisfactorily or never performed at all.

The defendant has violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, according to the suit.

Morrisey claims Withrow has committed common law fraud and deception by entering into contracts and accepting substantial down payments to perform home contracting services without returning to do the work and without refunding the down payments despite repeated requests by the consumers.

Other serious concerns include Withrow’s continued sale of home improvement contracting services without a license in violation of multiple cease and desist orders issued by the West Virginia Division of Labor, failure to furnish consumers with notice of the three-day right to cancel as required by the FTC Rule and numerous other violations of the Attorney General’s Home Improvement Rule.

Morrisey claims in 2015, his office commenced an investigation of Anderson’s business practices after receiving a number of complaints from individuals and consumers that Anderson’s had taken money and not finished the paid-for contractor services.

At least ten consumer complaints are known to the Attorney General’s Office at the time the complaint was filed in Kanawha Circuit Court

Morrisey claims Anderson’s was accepting money for work never performed and contracting to perform work that it was not licensed to perform.

The defendant also failed to provide a written contract to a consumer for work that conforms to the requirements of the Home Improvement Act, according to the suit.

Morrisey claims Anderson’s false promise that it would complete work is an unfair or deceptive act or practice and violates West Virginia code.

Morrisey is seeking an injunction against the defendants in each case and restitution for consumers.

“Consumers must be able to trust their contractor to complete the job,” Morrisey said. “Our office stands committed to enforcing the law to protect all consumers.”

The cases were assigned to Circuit Judges Jennifer Bailey and Louis Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number:16-C-1487, 16-C-1488

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