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For Immediate Release
May 13, 2002
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357

CURRAN ORDERS ANNE ARUNDEL MARINE CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTOR TO REFUND CUSTOMERS' PAYMENTS

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has issued a cease and desist order against a marine construction contractor who took money from customers to build piers, sea walls and other structures but did not build the structures. Hoffman's Marine Construction, Inc., also known as Hoffman Diving and Construction, and its president, David Hoffman, both of 1605 Coralie Court, Pasadena, were also ordered to refund all payments they took from consumers who did not receive the promised services.

According to the charges, Hoffman, 49, and his company agreed to provide marine construction goods and services for residential customers. The Division determined that Hoffman violated the Maryland Consumer Protection Act by failing to provide the services as promised and refusing to refund customers' payments. At least 14 consumers are owed a collective total of $47,040. The Division also determined that Hoffman, who met with consumers in their homes to sell the services, violated the Maryland Door-to-Door Sales Act by failing to advise consumers of their right to cancel the transactions within three business days of their purchase.

Also, the Division found that since Hoffman offered services on land adjacent to residential dwellings, the services constituted home improvement services. Although Hoffman represented to consumers that he and his company were licensed home improvement contractors or subcontractors, neither he nor his company held a valid home improvement contractor's or subcontractor's license with the State.

"Consumers have the right to expect that they will receive services they paid for, or receive a refund," said Attorney General Curran.

The Division's ex parte cease and desist order immediately bars Hoffman and his company from offering home improvement services unless they obtain a valid home improvement license and from entering into any contracts for the door-to-door sale of marine construction goods or services unless they inform consumers of their cancellation rights. The order also bars Hoffman and companies from offering marine construction goods and services unless they first either post a surety bond or letter of credit with the Division, which would allow any consumer who suffered a loss in connection with a purchase from Hoffman to file a claim for the loss.

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