Phoenix, Arizona - Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced a $195,761 judgment against Brent Ford. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against Ford back in June after receiving complaints from homeowners who claimed to have paid Ford thousands of dollars in advance for landscaping services and received little to no work in return.
“Beware of fake contractors offering big promises and small prices,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Do your homework before hiring a contractor, and be wary of arrangements that require a large upfront payment before the work is done.”
In the judgment, the Court found Ford collected around $90,000 from consumers after contracting to landscape their yards. The Court also found Ford intentionally misrepresented to consumers that the promised services would be performed, misled consumers as to why the work was not completed, and failed to provide refunds to consumers.
After the consumer fraud lawsuit was filed, Ford attempted to evade service, but was successfully served at a hotel in Texas. Recently, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office obtained a default judgment against Ford after he failed to properly respond to the State’s lawsuit. The judgment awards $89,599 in restitution to the consumers who paid Ford $100,000 in civil penalties, and $6,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs. The judgment also bans Ford from engaging in the business of landscaping construction in Arizona. The Attorney General’s Office will seek to collect on the judgment.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Dustin Romney and Matthew du Mee.
General Brnovich offers the following tips to help consumers when hiring a contractor:
- Make sure the contractor is registered with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC), and check with the ROC for complaints against the contractor.
- Be wary of contractors who solicit door-to-door.
- Find reviews of the contractor online.
- Get quotes from several contractors ahead of time in writing that detail the work that will be done.
- Be wary of any quote that is substantially lower than the others received (i.e., seems too good to be true).
- Never pay the full cost of the work up front in cash.
More tips on working with contractors.
If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud, you can file a complaint online at the Arizona Attorney General’s website. You can also contact the Consumer Information and Complaints Unit in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, and outside of the metro areas at (800) 352-8431.