October 5, 2004
CONSUMER PROTECTION DIVISION FILES CHARGES AGAINST GARRETT
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer
Protection Division has filed charges against a Garrett
County home builder who it alleges took deposits and payments from
a consumer and failed to complete construction or refund the payments.
The Division has suspended its registration pending revocation.
to the charges, C&S Construction, Inc., and its principals
William D. Cook and Mark R. Shrout of Oakland, Maryland, entered
into a contract with a consumer to construct a home in Garrett
County and accepted advance payments of $23,304. C&S Construction
never completed the home and failed to refund the consumer’s
Division alleges that C&S Construction, Inc., Cook and
Shrout violated the Maryland Custom Home Protection Act, the Home
Builder Registration Act and the Consumer Protection Act by failing
to place or maintain the $23,304 in an escrow account or having
a surety bond to cover the deposit and failing to complete the
home as promised.
Consumers should protect themselves by ensuring that their deposit
will be protected before writing a check to a builder," said
Curran. Builders who collect deposits from consumers are required
to protect those deposits by posting a bond or letter of credit
with the Division or having consumers make deposits payable to
an escrow account separate from the builder’s operating account.
Consumers can check the method a builder has reported using to
protect deposits by contacting the Attorney General’s
Home Builder Registration Unit at (410) 576-6573 in Baltimore,
at (877) 259-4525, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Division’s charges seek an order barring C&S Construction,
Inc., Cook and Shrout from acting as a builder in the State
of Maryland and requiring them to pay restitution to consumers
have been harmed by their unlawful practices, including the
$23,304 collected from the consumer identified in the charges.
Division is seeking a $1,000 civil penalty per day of unlawful
practice and the costs of the investigation.
Division also issued a notice seeking to revoke the home
builder registration of C&S Construction, Inc. and immediately suspending
C&S Construction, Inc.’s registration.
public hearing on the charges will be held at the Consumer
Protection Division, 200 Saint Paul Place, Baltimore, on
November 1, 2004.
Consumers who may have had problems with C&S Construction,
Inc., William D. Cook and Mark R. Shrout should contact the Home
Builder Registration Unit.