The owner of a tree-removal company has been ordered to pay tens of thousands of dollars in restitution fees for allegedly shady business practices that included failing to perform work for consumers who had already pre-paid him some of the bill. According to the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the Buffalo-based Tree Service by John “bilked New Yorkers out of over $10,000” and must pay $10,000 in restitution fees as well as $34,500 for other assorted penalties and court fees. Authorities claim that the owner of the tree service company would take deposits and perform either “shoddy work” or accept advance payments but fail to complete the task at hand.
According to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, the owner of the company has further been ordered to post a $50,000 insurance bond or he can no longer work in New York. The purpose of the bond, according to a December 2017 press release from the state attorney general’s office, is to act as a fund for repayment if the tree company should happen to skip out on commissioned work again. What’s more, the tree company can’t accept any advance payments until all of the fees are paid. This stipulation – on top of the fines – is simply the right course of action, says consumers’ rights attorney Jeffrey Benjamin. That’s because this New York City-based legal expert has taken on numerous cases similar to this and shown how members of the public who think that they’ve been ripped off should come forward with claims.
“My office will continue working to ensure that New Yorkers who pay for home contracting services receive them in a timely and professional manner. If contractors provide anything less, consumers should report them to my office right away,” Schneiderman said in the press release.
Mr. Benjamin agrees with the state attorney general about stepping forward. In the past, consumers’ rights attorney Jeffrey Benjamin secured a landmark favorable jury verdict that stemmed from a construction law case so he knows how to prove obligations of the other party. His ability as a trial lawyer can be traced back to 1997 when he began representing individual clients as well as class-action cases that centered around consumer fraud, statutory violations and breach of contract claims. As it pertains to the violations by the tree-removal company, authorities found that 16 consumers came forward with complaints about work that wasn’t done and money paid for it. With a proper paper trail, members of the public who would come to Mr. Benjamin for legal guidance would stand to benefit. That’s because documenting payments or obtaining a contract to show exactly what was supposed to be done and can be used as evidence should the case be heard in court.