- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Sues Unregistered Everett Contractor for Illegal Home Improvement Scheme
Boston — An unregistered Everett home improvement contractor has been sued for allegedly accepting more than $350,000 from homeowners for home improvement projects but failing to complete the work, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The lawsuit, filed against Richard Rolon d/b/a The Design Consultants in Suffolk Superior Court, seeks consumer restitution and civil penalties for violations of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act and the Home Improvement Contractor Act.
“We allege that this contractor ripped off homeowners for thousands of dollars and left his projects unfinished and even uninhabitable,” said AG Healey. “We are taking this action to recover losses for consumers.”
The AG’s Consumer Protection Division began an investigation after receiving several consumer complaints that Rolon took hundreds of thousands of dollars in deposits for renovation projects, then failed to provide the promised services. The AG’s Office has since received information that Rolon’s business has ceased operating.
According to the complaint, Rolon solicited and accepted large deposits, or full payment, in advance from homeowners and promised to manage, oversee, and order materials and labor for their projects. The size of the projects varied but included several kitchen remodeling projects, a major multi-room home renovation, and a major renovation to the common spaces of a 12-story condominium building.
However, the complaint alleges that Rolon failed to complete the projects, and even failed to start renovation at one home after demolition was complete. Consumers reported that Rolon never provided all of the services for which he was paid, or refunds for undelivered materials and services. Consumers suffered additional harm including damage to their homes from shoddy or incomplete work and added expenses from hiring replacement contractors to restore their homes to a livable condition. One family was displaced from their home and had to stay in a hotel for weeks.
The AG’s Office offers the following guidance to those who are considering hiring a home improvement contractor:
- Before hiring a home improvement contractor, always confirm a contractor is registered with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR). Home improvement contractor registration status and arbitration history can be found online on OCABR’s website.
- Consumers should protect themselves by vetting contractors carefully, getting multiple estimates for a project, and always checking a contractor’s references.
- Contracts for home improvement projects that exceed $1,000 must be in writing. Make sure the contract includes the start and end dates for the project, a complete listing of any subcontractors to be used and a complete schedule of payments.
- For home improvement projects that exceed $1,000, consumers cannot be required to make a deposit of more than one third of the project price in advance, except for orders of custom made materials.
- Be vigilant of home improvement scams. If you’re contacted by phone or someone soliciting door-to-door, verify the identity of the person offering to do work on your home through a trusted source before giving them any money or personal information.
If consumers have questions or concerns about home improvement contractors or projects, they may call the Attorney General’s consumer hotline at 617-727-8400 or file a complaint with the office. For more information about home improvement, visit the AG’s website.
This case is being handled by Deputy Chief William O’Hearn and Legal Analyst Bianca Hoffman, both of the AG’s Consumer and Advocacy Response Division and Assistant Attorney General Mychii Snape of the AG’s Consumer Protection Division, as well as Financial Investigator Shannon Roark and Investigator Ciara Tran of the AG’s Civil Investigations Division.