Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that his office’s Bureau of Consumer Protection has filed 35 legal actions statewide involving home improvement contractors, including one in Allegheny County and another in Westmoreland County.
Shapiro filed a complaint in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court against Barone Masonry of Glassport; Barone Construction; C & G Masonry-Concrete; Barone Concrete; C&G Waterproofing; and Barone Masonry/Concrete.
In 2018, its owner, Richard Barone, 38, was sentenced in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to seven years’ probation in a plea agreement on complaints filed regarding shoddy workmanship and bilking clients. As part of Mr. Barone’s plea deal, he provided $10,050 to the court to satisfy restitution for the cases.
Between April 2016 and September 2017, Barone is accused of taking advance money from nine people in several communities for work that he never completed, according to court documents. Eight of the nine he scammed were over 60 years old.
Shapiro’s office also took action against an Export contractor, Mark Bechler, operator of Marcus Remodeling, for failing to follow terms of a consent agreement alleging shoddy workmanship.
Shapiro said the legal actions were part of a statewide home improvement initiative in 17 counties between October 2018-April 2019 that focused on contractors’ compliance with the Commonwealth’s Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act.
Home improvement contractors are required to register with the Bureau of Consumer Protection biannually under HICPA.
“My Bureau of Consumer Protection nailed it on this initiative—enforcing HICPA to ensure Pennsylvanians aren’t taken advantage of by unscrupulous home improvement contractors who refuse to comply with the requirements and who fail to keep up their end of the bargain,” Shapiro said in a news release.
“When consumers hire a contractor to work on their home, they have a right under Pennsylvania law to work with a legitimate business.”
In announcing the legal actions, Shapiro said consumers should know what permits are required, before entering into a contract they should seek a local reference and solicit multiple bids for a project.
Consumers who believe they have been the victim of a home improvement contractor or disreputable business practices should contact the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555 or by email at [email protected] or visit www.attorneygeneral.gov to file a complaint.