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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > February 2023 > ‘Consumer Protection Up Close'

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‘Consumer Protection Up Close'

This occasional column examines and explains cases filed by the Consumer Protection Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

In November 2022, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sued a central Ohio contractor and his partners for allegedly swindling more than $130,000 from homeowners who made payments for decks that were never built.

The ringleader, Daryl Allen, was previously sued by the Attorney General’s Office for shoddy home-improvement work and was prohibited from doing business. To get around that, the lawsuit says, Allen teamed with two men who registered new deck-building companies with the Ohio Secretary of State.
Allen, Bernard Crist and Shane Bates, all defendants in the lawsuit, offered deck-building services through Good News Builders and Columbus Deck Co. LLC.

The lawsuit stems from 12 unresolved complaints in central Ohio – one against Columbus Deck Co. and 11 against Good News Builders – submitted to Yost’s Consumer Protection Section and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). In those complaints, consumers detailed financial losses totaling more than $132,000.

Allen, Crist and Bates are accused of violating the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act by accepting money from consumers and failing to deliver the promised goods and services, or performing shoddy work and failing to correct it. In one instance, no work was done.       
Likewise, the defendants also are accused of violating the Ohio Home Solicitations Sales Act by failing to provide consumers with proper notice of the three-day right to cancel the contract.

The state’s filing seeks an order requiring the defendants to reimburse customers and pay civil penalties and court costs. It also requests an order preventing the defendants from engaging in business as a supplier in any consumer transactions in Ohio until those debts are paid.     

Consumers should take the following steps before signing a contract for home-improvement services:
  • Check with the Attorney General’s Office and BBB for any complaints against the contractor.
  • 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 oral promises made by the contractor; the project 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 you to write a check directly to the contractor instead of his or her company.
  • Check with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office to confirm that the business is registered properly.
If you suspect unfair business practices, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.