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.
The long arm of the law recently caught up with a former New York funeral home director who was ordered to shut down her business in 2011, but instead re-located until eventually leaving the field in 2016. It was at that time, according to the New York State Attorney General’s Office, that her failure to repay some $49,000 in advance payments from former customers became a rather large sticking point. A lawsuit against the woman has been filed and rightly so, says New York area attorney Jeffrey Benjamin, whose background in fraud and business litigation gives him a unique perspective on obtaining a favorable verdict or settlement for the victims in these cases.
Per a press release issued by the AG’s office on Sept. 21, 2017, the former owner and operator of Wurtz Funeral Home in Erie County, New York, never registered her business. New York later ordered her to close down the funeral home, but she allegedly “ignored the order and continued to operate the funeral home” until June 2016 when she moved to central New York. Upon her exiting the business, the former director was still on the hook for $49,000 in advance payments made by eight people. Attorney Jeffrey Benjamin says that a lawsuit filed on behalf of the eight people who thought they’d never get their money back is sometimes the only thing to do, as the former funeral home director appears to have made no moves to show that she had the intentions of returning the funds. According to New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, “suing to recoup” was the most direct approach.
“It is appalling that a funeral home director would betray the trust these families put in her. A family mourning the death of a loved should never have to worry about being swindled. That is why we are suing to recoup the thousands of dollars in losses for the victims, and help ensure this won’t happen to others,” Schneiderman said in the press release.
Per the press release, “panicked customers” had to reach out to New York’s funeral home directing bureau to get additional information about how to get their money back. The state attorney general’s office alleges that the former funeral home director was uncooperative and initiated an investigation as a result. The pre-payment of funeral funds, as was the case here, is a tricky practice, says attorney Jeffrey Benjamin. However, the fact that the former director had left the business and was reportedly uncooperative shows that those funds were certainly in limbo and the people who’d put forward considerable amounts of cash were right to be worried. Those in the New York City and Long Island areas who have experienced being at a disadvantaged due to disingenuous activity by a business are encouraged to contact Mr. Benjamin, whose firm and fellow law professionals can help you go after those who’ve happily and quickly collected your money for nothing in return.