CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office has won restitution, a civil penalty and a court order to permanently block a Putnam County flooring contractor from any future work in the area of home improvement sales and installation.
The judgment represents a full refund to those who alleged Xpert Tile and Hardwood Installation, by way of its owner Chad Akers, provided incomplete or substandard service.
Four complaints triggered the lawsuit, which accused the company’s owner of violating the state’s consumer protection law by entering into unlawful contracts and failing to complete the agreed upon work.
“Contractors must fulfill their obligations or face the consequences,” Morrisey said in a statement. “This judgment sends a strong message and demonstrates that our office will protect consumers with vigor and prosecute any contractor who takes their money without finishing the job.”
The judgment, entered March 25 in Kanawha Circuit Court, requires Akers to pay $10,304.54 in consumer restitution and a $4,000 civil penalty for engaging in repeated and willful violations of the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act. Akers ran the business out of his home in Fraziers Bottom.
The order also prohibits Akers from engaging in any future contracting work either as a business owner or in any other capacity. The court also said it might award attorney fees and court costs.
Three of the four consumers, from neighboring Cabell or Kanawha counties, allege Akers performed substandard work and failed to complete bathroom renovations at their individual homes. Each project was valued at more than $2,500 for a mix of tub, shower, tile, drywall, flooring and backsplash installation.
A Mason County consumer’s complaint involved substandard work and damage during the course of a kitchen flooring renovation.
All four consumers faced the potential of incurring additional expense to repair, replace and complete Akers’ work.
Akers neither answered the lawsuit in court nor appeared at a hearing on the Attorney General’s motion for summary judgment. Akers repeatedly failed to respond to prior inquiries from the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, including attempts to secure compliance without the necessity of litigation.
The lawsuit claimed Akers failed to begin or complete work by the date promised, failed to substantially perform the home improvement contract and failed to notify consumers of their three-day right to cancel.
Senior Assistant AG Norman Googel of the office's Consumer Protection & Antritrust Division handled the case for the state. It was assigned to Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 18-C-1253