Barbour County contractor ordered to pay penalties and stop operations

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey won a $76,000 judgment that also orders a Barbour County home improvement contractor to cease any work as a contractor.

The court determined that Thomas Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning; its operator, Oscar Thomas; and his wife and fellow participant, April Thomas; each repeatedly and willfully violated the state’s consumer protection laws, according to a press release from the Attorney General’s Office.

The judgment requires the defendants to pay $70,000 in civil penalties and $6,635.72 in restitution. It also permanently blocks Oscar Thomas from engaging in any capacity of contracting work, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

“Contractors must abide by the law and complete work in a fair and trustworthy manner,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “This order ensures this particular business will not deceive consumers again. Our office is adamant about protecting Mountain State consumers and ensuring that all businesses are in compliance with the law.”

The Attorney General’s lawsuit alleged that the defendants collected thousands of dollars in down payments. Work never began on some projects. Others were started, but never finished and left in such disarray that consumers had no choice but to hire others to complete, repair or totally redo the project, according to the press release.

The lawsuit further alleged that Oscar Thomas continued to accept home improvement jobs for many months after his state contractor’s license expired Dec. 17, 2016, according to the press release.

The court’s restitution award represents a full refund of all payments collected from seven named consumers. It also ordered the defendants to reimburse costs associated with the state’s investigation and litigation, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The lawsuit, filed in Randolph County Circuit Court, set forth charges of having engaged in home improvement, plumbing and HVAC contracting without a license; failure to notify consumers of the three-day right to cancel; failure to begin or complete work by the date promised; and unfair and deceptive business practices.

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