Home Repair Contractors Sued by Attorney General Schneider for Allegedly Swindling Homeowners out of Money

March 12, 2012

AUGUSTA ? Attorney General William J. Schneider announced today that lawsuits have been filed against two home repair contractors for taking money from consumers and failing to perform as promised.

Daniel B. Tucci, of Portland, advertised as ?Dan the Handyman? in local newspapers. According to the Attorney General?s complaint, filed March 8, 2012 in Cumberland County Superior Court, Tucci collected payments in advance but failed to perform the promised home repair services. When the homeowners complained about the lack of progress, Tucci demanded more money. Any work actually performed by Tucci and his crew was of extremely low quality.

The Attorney General?s Office began an investigation of Tucci after receiving a complaint from Legal Services for the Elderly alleging that he targeted elderly victims. Many of the consumers stated that when Tucci was confronted about the lack of progress or poor quality of the repairs, he responded with threats and bullying.

A separate lawsuit was filed February 18, 2012 in York County Superior Court against Joel Poirier following the U.S. Bankruptcy Court?s dismissal of Poirier?s Chapter 13 Petition. Poirier owned and operated a home construction and repair business in Buxton. According to the lawsuit, Poirier took large down payments in advance for home improvement projects that he did not begin on time and never finished.

?We allege that these contractors intentionally misrepresented their ability and willingness to complete the home improvement projects they were paid in advance to do,? said Attorney General Schneider. ?This kind of intimidation of our seniors, who especially need help maintaining their homes, is intolerable.?

The Attorney General?s lawsuits seek to prohibit Tucci and Poirier from acting as general contractors in Maine, providing goods or services, and taking any money in advance from consumers. The complaint is also seeking restitution for the affected consumers, as well as penalties and costs.

There are many reputable home improvement contractors in Maine and homeowners can protect themselves and find the right contractor for the job by taking a few easy steps.

  1. Shop around and compare several estimates.
  2. Check references from past customers and ask to see samples of the contractor?s work, particularly models of those jobs that are similar to the work you want done to your home.
  3. Get a contract in writing. Maine law requires a written contract for jobs costing more than $3,000.
  4. Take your time. If the offer is good today, it will be good tomorrow. Be skeptical of high pressure tactics.
  5. Establish a payment schedule. Maine law states that down payments cannot exceed 1/3 of the total cost of the job.
  6. Before making your final payment, get a second opinion. Have an independent inspector or insurance adjuster inspect the project.
  7. Demand to see lien waivers from subcontractors and material suppliers.

If you have questions about home construction repair or if you need to file a complaint, contact the Attorney General?s Consumer Protection Division at (800) 436-2131 or by email at consumer.mediation@maine.gov

For information and consumer tips on choosing home improvement contractors, please visit http://www.maine.gov/ag/consumer/housing/home_construction.shtml

Contact Legal Services for the Elderly at 1(800)750-5353 or visit http://www.mainelse.org/library/kyr/home_repair.htm

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Linda Conti and Carolyn Silsby of Attorney General Schneider?s Consumer Protection Division.