Richard Capachione has to pay $150,000 in compensation for a home improvement scam that affected dozens of consumers
BOSTON (WWLP) – A home improvement company has been banned from doing business in Massachusetts after a settlement with prosecutors.
Attorney General Maura Healey announced Tuesday that Richard Capachione, an Acton home builder, has been banned from owning or operating a construction company and will pay $150,000 in compensation after he alleges he defrauded dozens of Massachusetts homeowners.
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Capachione is required to close its three businesses New England Hardscapes, Inc., Aqua Outdoor Environments and R and R Consulting, LLC pursuant to the Suffolk Superior Court’s affirmative ruling. Since 2013, Capachione has been offering construction services such as installation and construction of swimming pools and pool decks, as well as construction of outdoor living spaces and retaining walls.
The investigation began in 2019 after the attorney general’s office received complaints from consumers who claimed they were paying for home improvement projects only to have those projects go unfinished. Capachione eventually filed for bankruptcy.
The AG’s office alleged that Capachione violated state consumer protection laws and the Home Improvement Contractor Act by entering into written agreements with new customers that lacked key information required by law, including the contractor’s registration number and a detailed description of the work to be performed, the date the project was to begin and be substantially completed, and that the contractor was required to be registered with the State Office of Consumer and Business Affairs (OCABR).
“Remodeling a home can be a massive, costly effort, and it’s devastating when properties are left in worse condition than they were originally and money is spent on unfinished work,” AG Healey said. “This settlement will return thousands of dollars to Massachusetts homeowners who were taken advantage of by this contractor’s fraudulent practices.”
Policies: Hiring a home improvement business
- Shop wisely and do your research. Ask your friends and neighbors for recommendations on contractors they have used and trust, and always ask contractors for references. Make sure your contractor is registered with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation so you can see any complaints.
- Requests. Be especially cautious when a contractor is asking for orders over the phone or by knocking on the door.
- Get it in writing. Make sure you get a written contract or estimate detailing the work to be done. For more complex projects, request a detailed estimate.
- permits. Your registered home improvement should obtain any building permits required by your city or county. Pulling the permits yourself compromises your ability to recover when something goes wrong.
- prepayments. Be wary of contractors who charge the full price of the work up front. For most home improvement projects that exceed $1,000, consumers cannot be required to pay an upfront deposit greater than one-third of the project price, except for orders of custom materials.
- If you have any questions, contact the consumer hotline at the AG office 617-727-8400 or file a complaint online here.