A Staten Island contractor has been fined $100K over allegations of consumer fraud. Authorities allege that Harbor View Restoration, LLC, owner Frank A. Hoffman Sr. and his wife, “defraud[ed] consumers who hired them to repair homes that had been damaged in fires, floods, and other calamities,” stated a news release from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino in the same news release said:
It is unconscionable that a contractor would prey on homeowners struggling to recover from catastrophic events.
Our action not only penalizes this contractor for his alleged unscrupulous business practices, it provides an opportunity for wronged customers to have their complaints addressed through binding arbitration, and protects future customers by requiring him to change his business practices to comply with the law.
Under the Consent Order, Harbor view and the Hoffmans have to:
- Not engaging in unfair or deceptive business practices.
- Not begin home improvement work prior to obtaining the consumers’ approval.
- Not substituting products or materials for those specified in the home improvement contract without the knowledge or consent of the consumer.
- Not including in their home improvement contracts any language that purports to create a power of attorney in favor of the defendants.
- Not completing or signing a home improvement contract on behalf of a consumer without the knowledge and consent of consumer.
The Hoffmans have also agreed to a $140,000 settlement that includes $100,000 in civil penalties, attorney fees, and investigative costs, as well as $40,000 in civl penalties, being suspended for two years, and vacated if the defendants comply with a ll of the terms in the Consent Order.