Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Tuesday that contractor Richard Capachione is barred from owning or managing any construction company in the state and must pay $150,000 in compensation.
As part of the settlement, the Suffolk High Court ordered the dissolution of the three Capachione-owned home improvement companies. Namely New England Hardscapes Inc., Aqua Outdoor Environments and R and R Consulting LLC.
The AG’s office alleges that Capachione, through its three companies, spent years raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in consumer deposits and regular payments for home improvement projects across the state that either never started or were canceled midway, causing damage to multiple properties and in dangerous and unsanitary conditions .
“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,” Healey said. “This settlement will return thousands of dollars to Massachusetts homeowners who were taken advantage of by this contractor’s fraudulent practices.”
Since 2013, Capachione’s companies have been providing construction services in Massachusetts, specifically the installation and construction of swimming pools and pool decks, outdoor living spaces and retaining walls.
“Capachione then engaged in a pattern of delays and excuses and ultimately failed to complete the renovations or deliver the materials he was paid to manufacture or procure,” the AG office statement said. “Although Capachione and its companies were financially unstable, he continued to seek new business, enter into new agreements and accept new deposits from consumers.”
After receiving various complaints and allegations from former Capachione customers, Healey’s office began investigating in 2019.
According to Healey’s office, Capachione would enter into written agreements with new customers that lacked the disclosures required by law. The AG’s office indicated that this included the contractor’s registration number, a detailed description of the work to be performed and the date the project was due to begin and be substantially complete.
The AG’s office offers the following guidance to those considering hiring a contractor:
- 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 builder 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 AG Office Consumer Hotline at 617-727-8400 or file a complaint online.