(CLEVELAND) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is suing a home improvement contractor in northeast Ohio who has done business under more than 10 different names and allegedly bilked homeowners out of over $150,000.
“This guy changes his company name like he changes his underwear – and for the same reason,” Yost said. “His business practices and reputation stink.”
Thomas Cutura, of North Royalton, is accused of performing shoddy work and failing to deliver promised services or refunds after accepting large down payments from customers.
Cutura has used numerous names for his business, including Assurance Roofing and More, Avon Cabinets Direct, Avon Wholesale Cabinets, Cabinets Direct, Mid Ohio Cabinets, Midwest Cabinets, and Ohio Capital Cabinets. He has also used aliases, such as Thomas Southard and Thomas Cutura Vavro.
The lawsuit stems from 11 unresolved complaints submitted to Yost’s Consumer Protection Section. In those complaints, consumers blame Cutura for financial losses of $154,800.
Some of the complaints say he took money from customers but never started their projects. Others claim he abandoned projects after performing minimal, shoddy work. Consumers also accuse him of using stall tactics and ignoring their phone calls.
The lawsuit, filed in the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas, alleges violations of Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act, Home Solicitation Sales Act, and Home Construction Service Suppliers Act.
The state’s filing seeks an order requiring Cutura to reimburse affected customers and pay civil penalties, as well as court costs. It also requests an order preventing him from running a business in Ohio until those debts are paid.
Attorney General Yost reminds consumers to take the following steps before signing a contract for home improvement services:
- Check for any complaints against the contractor with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Better Business Bureau.
- Make sure your contract includes notice of your right to cancel a door-to-door sale. Contractors generally cannot start working until the three-day “cooling-off” period ends.
- Get written estimates from several contractors before making a final decision.
- Check to make sure that the written contract includes any verbal promises, the start and end dates, and an itemized list of all significant costs, labor and services.
- Be wary if the contract requires a large down payment or requires that you write a check directly to the contractor instead of his or her company.
- Check with the Ohio Secretary of State to confirm that the business is registered properly.
Consumers who suspect an unfair or deceptive business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.