Attorney General Gansler Orders Home Builders to Repay Consumers
Consumer Protection Division orders more than $15,000
in refunds and penalties
MD ( June 29, 2011) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler has announced that the Consumer Protection Division has issued a final order requiring Bay Area Design & Build, Inc. and its principals to refund $10,000 collected from consumers to construct a home in Anne Arundel County and pay a penalty of $3,000. The Division found the builder and its principals, Gregory Louis Haigis and Robert Scott Huff, violated Maryland's Custom Home Protection Act by failing to place or maintain money in an escrow account, failing to have a surety bond to protect those deposits and payments and failing to construct the home.
“Before any money is paid, consumers need to know that their home is being built by a registered home builder and that any deposits they make are protected by an escrow account, bond or letter of credit,” said Attorney General Gansler. “Home builders are required to give consumers a pamphlet prepared by this office that discusses consumers' rights under the law and the steps consumers can take to protect themselves.”
The Division found that Bay Area Design & Build, Inc. also improperly used the deposit money for expenses not related to the construction of the consumers' home.
The order bars Bay Area Design & Build, Inc. and its principals, Haigis and Huff, from acting as a home builders in the State of Maryland unless they meet the requirements to be registered as a home builder under Maryland's Home Builder Registration Act, and requires restitution payment of the $10,000 they received from consumers for the new home that they failed to begin. In addition they have been fined penalties and costs totaling $5,966.34.
The Attorney General encourages new home buyers to check whether their builder is registered by contacting the Division's Home Builder Registration Unit at 410-576-6573 or toll-free at 877-259-4525, or by visiting the Attorney General's website at www.oag.state.md.us/homebuilder.