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Bergen-based contractors charged with cheating customers

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

State authorities have charged a pair of contractors from Bergenfield and Wyckoff with cheating and short-changing customers, doing substandard work — and even damaging homes.

The state Attorney General and Division of Consumer Affairs filed an eight-count complaint in Superior Court in Hackensack against ABC Construction and both of its owner operators — Charleston J. Masterson of Bergenfield and Frankie Olandesi of Wyckoff — along with the company after investigating complaints forwarded by the Bergen County Office of Consumer Affairs.

“Some homeowners have been left with unusable kitchens and bathrooms,” acting state Attorney General John J. Hoffman said this morning. “We’re taking action in response to such unlawful conduct and will do everything we can to obtain restitution for these homeowners and prevent future harm to others.”

ABC Construction damaged homes, began but didn’t finish bathroom and kitchen renovations and began work without obtaining required permits, in addition to other violations of the Consumer Fraud Act, the Contractors’ Registration Act, Contractor Registration Regulations, Home Improvement Regulations, and Advertising Regulations, said Hoffman, noting that ABC maintained business locations in Oradell and Bergenfield.

Among “unconscionable commercial practices, false promises and deception, among other things,” the complaint alleges that the company:

  • failed to begin or complete home improvement work on the agreed upon date or time period specified in contracts, or as otherwise represented;
  • failed to provide timely written notice for any delay in the performance of home improvement work, as well as the dates or time periods within which such work would commence or be completed;
  • performed home improvement work in a substandard manner, which required consumers to hire a second contractor to correct defendants’ work;
  • failed to perform home improvement work according to contract specifications and accepting payment for said work;
  • began home improvement work and never returned to finish;
  • left bathrooms and/or kitchens partially demolished and/or unusable;
  • failed to deliver products that consumers had purchased, including, but not limited to, cabinets and tile;
  • performed home improvements of poor or substandard quality and then failed to make the necessary corrective repairs;
  • caused damage to consumers’ homes while performing home improvement work and then failed to fix, clean or compensate for the damage;
  • failed to appear at a consumer’s home at the agreed upon time or at all;
  • accepted consumers’ payments and failed to provide the contracted-for home improvement work;
  • failed to obtain the requisite permits to perform the contracted-for home improvement work;
  • refused to issue refunds after defendants failed to perform the contracted-for home improvement work;
  • failed to provide consumers with refunds after failing to complete the contracted-for home improvement work;
  • failed to remove debris and equipment from consumers’ homes and/or clean the jobsite; and
  • failed to respond to consumers telephone calls, inquiries and/or complaints in a timely manner or at all.

Investigator Jared O’Cone in the Division of Consumer Affairs Office of Consumer Protection investigated. Deputy Attorney General Mark E. Critchley in the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section of the Division of Law is representing the state.

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