(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — In the final days of the year, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed eight consumer-protection lawsuits across the state against businesses accused of ripping off Ohioans, reinforcing his commitment to holding “bad actors” accountable.
“Misleading and unlawful business practices – especially those that take direct aim at customers’ wallets – will not be overlooked,” Yost said. “Ohioans work hard for their money, and we work year-round to protect it.”
Here is a timeline of the suit filings:
- Dec. 22: Three Cincinnati-area appliance-supply companies and the owners are accused of accepting nearly $4,900 in payments from consumers but not providing any appliances or other services. The companies also failed to register with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, as required by state law.
Yost’s lawsuit, filed in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, contends that Terry Haynes and Amy Garcia – as operators of Queen City Appliances, A Plus Appliance Repair, and Certified Appliance Repair – violated Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act.
Haynes has a history of setting up a new company after consumers complain to the Attorney General’s Office about an existing company.
Yost sued Haynes in November 2019 over similar violations. The ensuing judgment prohibited Haynes from working as a supplier in Ohio until he reimbursed customers and paid associated penalties and fees – neither of which he has done.
- Dec. 27: A Hilliard caterer allegedly accepted money from customers for weddings and other events but didn’t provide adequate services – or, in some cases, any services – and refused to refund the money.
Yost’s lawsuit, filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, accuses Michael Morales and his two catering companies, Tasteful Occasion and Kool Daddy’s BBQ, of violating the Consumer Sales Practices Act.
Roughly $7,000 was taken from consumers, according to complaints filed with the Attorney General’s Office.
- Dec. 27: A Dayton home-landscaping contractor is accused of taking $12,500 from homeowners who made payments for fences that were never constructed.
Yost’s lawsuit, filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, accuses B&R Fence & More and its owner, Robert Wood, of multiple violations of the Consumer Sales Practices Act and the Home Solicitation Sales Act.
- Dec. 28: A Heath furniture store and its owner reportedly sold furniture to consumers with far-off delivery dates and then misled the buyers about the status of their orders, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as a cover.
The lawsuit, filed in Licking County Common Pleas Court, maintains that Heath Furniture & Mattress and owner Rick Wallace failed to deliver furniture and engaged in deceptive sales practices, both violations of the Consumer Sales Practices Act.
Wallace and his company took nearly $13,600 from customers, according to complaints filed with the Attorney General’s Office.
- Dec. 29: MH&D Construction of Springfield and its owner, Michael Collett, allegedly swindled $31,600 from consumers who made payments for various home-improvement projects that weren’t completed and for which refunds were never provided.
Yost’s lawsuit, filed this week in Clark County Common Pleas Court, cites two violations of the Consumer Sales Practices Act and one violation of the Home Solicitation Sales Act.
- Dec. 29: A Columbus driveway repair and installation company is being sued for failing to complete work or provide refunds and failing to honor warranties.
The lawsuit, filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, accuses Pave Tech Asphalt Services of multiple violations of the Consumer Sales Practices Act and the Home Solicitation Sales Act.
The Attorney General’s Office fielded seven complaints about Pave Tech. According to the complaints, consumers were cheated out of $12,400.
- Dec. 29: A similar lawsuit filed in the same court on the same day names Tri County Asphalt.
The company’s tactics prompted 22 complaints to the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau. In total, the complaints allege that Tri County cheated consumers out of $8,000.
Yost’s lawsuit cites multiple violations of the Consumer Sales Practices Act and the Home Solicitation Sales Act.
For each of these seven filings, the state seeks an order requiring the defendants to reimburse consumers and pay civil penalties and court costs. It also requests an order preventing the defendants from engaging in business in any consumer transactions in Ohio until those debts are paid.
Yost also filed a lawsuit on Dec. 22 against a used-car dealership and its owner for violations of consumer protection laws and failure to deliver vehicle titles to consumers.
Before Yost’s lawsuit was filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, the Attorney General’s Office fielded 34 title-related complaints about IM Approved Store, currently operating in Cleveland. The suit accuses owner Benny Ingram of violating the Consumer Sales Practices Act and Certificate of Motor Vehicles Title Act.
Yost seeks to recover the amount of money paid to resolve consumer complaints. Additionally, the complaint asks the court to impose a civil penalty and prohibit Ingram from maintaining or applying for auto-dealer or salesperson licenses.
Ohioans who suspect unfair or deceptive business practices should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.