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Published: Tuesday, 4/2/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

State sues Maumee business

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has filed a lawsuit against a Maumee couple and their roofing company, alleging that the firm and its owners engaged in deceptive practices such as performing shoddy work and requesting and receiving money for work that was never performed.

Barnes Construction Companies Inc., a roofing contractor whose address is listed as 417 Osage Dr., Maumee, was the chief defendant in the lawsuit filed Thursday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. Also named as defendants were owners Christopher and Christina Barnes.

The case was assigned to Judge Frederick McDonald.

The lawsuit charges Barnes Construction and the Barneses with multiple violations of the state’s Consumer Sales Practice Act. The suit claims the company “performed shoddy and unworkmanlike services” to consumers seeking to have new roofs installed on their homes. Some consumers paid the defendants for materials and labor for roofs to be installed, but the roofs were never installed and monies were never refunded, Mr. DeWine’s office alleges.

At least one consumer was told he had won a new roof to be installed at no cost as a prize in a sweepstakes. The consumer has never received the roof and the defendants refused to return the consumer’s calls, the suit states.

Barnes Construction also provided customers with inconsistent and inadequate information regarding goods ordered, delivery dates, and installation dates. And, “Despite numerous phone calls and attempts to contact [Barnes] by consumers regarding the installation or repair of their roofs or refunds of their money, the defendants have been nonresponsive,” the suit states.

Mr. DeWine’s office is seeking a permanent injunction preventing Barnes Construction from doing business in Ohio, and a judgment that would require reimbursement or restitution to all consumers harmed by the company and its owners. The suit also asks for the court to levy a civil penalty of $25,000 for each separate violation of the Consumer Sales Practice Act, plus the state’s costs and court costs involved in bringing the lawsuit.

Dan Tierney, a spokesman for Mr. DeWine’s office, said the attorney general’s office collects tips and complaints from consumers about abusive practices by Ohio companies, but usually does not file lawsuits unless there is a clear pattern of questionable behavior.

Barnes Construction previously was accredited with the Better Business Bureau of Northwestern Ohio and Southeastern Michigan, but that accreditation was revoked on July 30, 2012, for failing to respond to one or more customer complaints filed with the BBB, and otherwise failing to meet the BBB’s standards of conduct required of its members. The BBB’s records showed that Barnes Construction had received 10 complaints from 2010 through 2012 and failed to respond to four of those complaints.

Attempts to locate Barnes Construction and its owners were unsuccessful. The company's phone has been disconnected.

Also, Christopher and Christina Barnes could not be reached for comment. The couple previously rented a home at 3063 Indian Springs Rd. in Maumee, but the owners of the home, who live out of state, said they were forced to evict the couple in February for nonpayment of rent. The homeowners said they had no information as to where the couple now live.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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