Resident Letter of Thanks
I wanted to write to thank you for your office’s assistance with a recent issue I had regarding my deposit on a condo and to let you know how effective Vanessa Natale was in resolving this issue.
In June 2008 my offer was accepted by developer Broadway Mass for a unit in the Dumont Condominium. I put down a 5 percent deposit on my condo. The Dumont was a new construction, and I was told it would be completed in August 2008. The seller kept postponing when the unit would be available and in September we received word that the seller had been fired by the developer. We were referred to Broadway Mass for any questions, but Broadway Mass would not respond to e-mails or return phone calls. This drug on for over four months. In January 2009, I received word that the Dumont property was going through foreclosure, but Broadway Mass still refused to give contract holders their money back.
At that point, I contacted Vanessa to see if the District Attorney’s office could help. Within two weeks of her involvement we had received word from Broadway Mass that we would be able to get our deposit money back. Throughout this time Vanessa kept me updated on the situation and always promptly responded to calls and e-mails. Her professionalism was evident, and I cannot be more grateful for her assistance. It is reassuring to know that your office exists to help those in situations where they feel powerless (as I did).
OAG Gets Refund For Home Owner
A senior resident of the District of Columbia contacted a contractor based on a flyer that she had received at her home to obtain an estimate to renovate her basement. The contractor informed the consumer that she had “dangerous levels of asbestos” and “dangerous wiring.” The consumer paid the contractor a total of $10,500 to do the repair work. The only repair work that the consumer received was the removal of the wood paneling from her basement walls. Unable to resolve this matter, the consumer contacted the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (OAG) for dispute resolution. OAG was able to obtain a $3,500 refund for the consumer. The consumer was thrilled to obtain a partial refund and now had the confidence to continue her case. The consumer went on to file a court case against the contractor and received a $7,300 refund check from the contractor.
The complainant contacted the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (OAG) to help resolve her matter with a local career advancement business. The complainant was dissatisfied with the course materials that she had received and wanted a refund. When the complainant first contacted the business and requested a refund she was told, “No.” She then filed an on-line complaint with OAG and called the business back. The complainant was told by the business that they had received a telephone call from OAG and that she would receive her refund. The complainant received her full refund for $2,400 from the business.
Complainant vs. Grayton
The complainant signed a contract with Grayton Plumbing to repair the water leak in her dining room ceiling and to install a new toilet. The complainant says that Bobby Parks and Ray Neill of Grayton attempted to do the work, but four days later the leak in the dining room ceiling reappeared. The complainant contacted Grayton and was told that the problem appeared to be coming from another location. The complainant stated that she wanted a full refund of the $2,710.38 she’d paid to Grayton for the work because it appeared that they’d misdiagnosed the problem. She contacted the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) for assistance.
During mediation, Frank Grayton, owner of Grayton Plumbing, agreed to refund the complainant $1,600 of the money that she paid. Both parties were satisfied with the settlement.
Complainant vs. BR Movers
The complainant was preparing to move from the District to the state of New York when she called BR Movers to help her make the transition at a cost of $1,848.50. The complainant says that in the end, she was charged double that originally agreed upon estimate after the contract was altered the day of pick-up. She contacted the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) for assistance.
During mediation with the OCP, BR Movers offered to refund the complainant $700 of the money she’d spent. The complainant agreed to the settlement. She had this to say about the experience working with OCP, “Tim Shirey was a lot of help. I was very impressed with the time he spent on my case and he had an incredible amount of patience. I was on a boat during the time when his investigation had neared the end, but he was so patient in waiting for me to be able to get back to him so that he could wrap things up. I wasn’t even expecting the level of assistance that I received and I’m very grateful for his help in making a bad situation much better.”
Complainant vs. Self Construction, Inc.
The complainant contacted the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) after paying $14,000 to Self Construction, Inc. to make improvements on her home only to walk away feeling unsatisfied. For $21,240, Self Construction, Inc. had agreed to repaint the complainant’s front porch, pressure wash and install handrails on her rear deck, remove and install new kitchen cabinets and flooring, paint interior walls, doors and moldings and refinish her hardwood floors. The complainant says the work was shoddy and much of it was never finished.
A site visit conducted by OCP revealed Self Construction, Inc. had done inferior work and several tasks were incomplete. An OCP investigator also determined that Self Construction, Inc. did not have a Basic Business License to officially do business in the District. OCP immediately worked to mediate the dispute between the complainant and Self Construction, Inc.. In the end, the company agreed to reimburse the complainant $4,000 of the money she’d paid for their services and a representative agreed that the company would take the necessary steps to become officially licensed to do business in the District within 60 days.
District vs. Metropolitan Money Store
The District filed a lawsuit against Metropolitan Money Store and others alleging that they participated in a scam in which 25 homeowners in the District of Columbia were stripped of the titles and substantial equity in their homes. As part of a “Foreclosure Reversal” scheme, Metropolitan Money Store and others falsely promised to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, keep their homes, and repair their damaged credit. Metropolitan Money Store then diverted proceeds from purported sales of these homes to itself and related companies.
The District’s lawsuit has resulted in a settlement of $135,000 for one homeowner. Nine other District homeowners will participate in a $575,000 settlement with a company that conducted the settlements on their homes. Many of the other homeowners have obtained significant sums from lenders and others to compensate them for their losses. The District continues to litigate to obtain monetary and equitable relief for the homeowners.
Complainant vs. Empire Today
The complainant called Empire Today to have them install new carpet in her home. She says that during installation, Empire Today removed weather stripping from the front door and forgot to replace it. Water eventually seeped in through the gap left when the strip was removed, damaging the carpet. The complainant contacted the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) for assistance in having the ruined carpet replaced after her own attempts were fruitless.
An OCP investigator contacted the corporate office of Empire Today in Chicago, Illinois and informed them about the complaint. They quickly responded, sending out a representative to replace the carpet and weather stripping on the door. The complainant says she was pleasantly surprised by the rapid response. “The investigator from was DCRA was really wonderful! I’ve had other problems and couldn’t find anybody to help me, but Mr. Shirey got them to come out here and fix my carpet quick!”
The complainant, a senior citizen, says that many times people ignore the elderly when they complain about consumer issues, but she felt like she was a top priority for the OCP.