Contractor banned in MA after home improvement scams
Richard Capachione to pay $150,000 in restitution for home improvement scam impacting dozens of consumers
BOSTON (WWLP) – A home improvement contractor is banned from doing business in Massachusetts after a settlement with the Attorney General’s Office.
Attorney General Maura Healey announced Tuesday, Richard Capachione, a home improvement contractor from Acton, has been banned from owning or managing a construction company and will pay $150,000 in restitution following allegations that he scammed dozens of homeowners in Massachusetts.
Capachione is required to close his three businesses, New England Hardscapes, Inc., Aqua Outdoor Environments, and R and R Consulting, LLC under the consent judgment entered in Suffolk Superior Court. Since 2013, Capachione provided construction services such as, the installation and construction of swimming pools and pool decks, and the construction of outdoor living spaces and retaining walls.
The investigation began in 2019 after the Attorney General’s Office received complaints from consumers alleging that they were paying for home improvement projects, only for those projects to remain unfinished. Capachione ultimately filed for bankruptcy.
The AG’s Office alleged that Capachione violated state consumer protection laws, and the Home Improvement Contractor Act by entering into written agreements with new customers that lacked key disclosures required by the law, including the contractor’s registration number, a detailed description of the work to be done, the date when the project was scheduled to begin and substantially completed, and notice that the contractor was required to be registered with the state’s Office of Consumer and Business Affairs (OCABR).
“Remodeling a home can be a massive, expensive effort, and it is devastating when properties are left in worse condition than they started, with money spent on unfinished work,” said AG Healey. “This settlement returns thousands of dollars to Massachusetts homeowners who were taken advantage of by this contractor’s deceptive practices.”
Guidelines: Hiring a home improvement contractor
- Shop wisely and do research. Ask your friends and neighbors for recommendations about contractors they have used and trust and always ask contractors for references. Check to make sure your contractor is registered with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, which will allow you to check any complaint history.
- Solicitations. Be extra cautious if a contractor solicits business by the phone or by knocking on the door.
- Get it in writing. Make sure you obtain a written contract or price estimate that details the job that will be done. For more complex projects, ask for an itemized estimate.
- Permits. Your registered home improvement contractor should get any building permits required by your city or town. If you pull the permits yourself, you hurt your ability to recover if something goes wrong.
- Upfront fees. Be wary of contractors who demand the full price of the work up front. For most home improvement projects that exceed $1,000, consumers cannot be required to make a deposit of more than one-third of the project price in advance, except for orders of custom-made materials.
- Contact the AG’s Office’s consumer assistance hotline with questions 617-727-8400 or file a complaint online here.