Cease and Desist Order Issued Against Unlicensed Driveway Paving Contractor
AG Gansler's Consumer Protection Division orders Annapolis man to return monies taken from consumers
MD ( Nov. 16, 2011) - Maryland Attorney Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has issued a Cease and Desist Order against an unlicensed Annapolis-based driveway paving contractor who allegedly took tens of thousands of dollars from Maryland consumers by deceiving them about how much he was going to charge for work performed.
"Consumers have a right to expect that they will not be charged exorbitant prices after receiving much lower estimates from a contractor," said Attorney General Gansler. "When work is being done on your property, insist on having the contractor provide a written estimate on all work that will take place so you can guard against being duped."
The Division alleges that Tommy Edward Clack, 40, of Annapolis preyed on consumers, mostly seniors, by refusing to provide estimates or giving lowball estimates and then charging the consumers thousands to tens of thousands of dollars to pave their driveways. In one instance, Mr. Clack provided a verbal estimate of $4,000 to a consumer, but once the driveway was paved, he informed the consumer the total price was $32,500.
The Division also alleges that Mr. Clack sold and performed driveway paving services without the required home improvement contractor and salesperson's licenses, and violated the Maryland Door-to-Door Sales Act by failing to notify consumers of their cancellation rights and failing to honor consumers' requests to cancel.
The Consumer Protection Division ordered Mr. Clack to immediately cease and desist from offering and selling home improvement services unless he obtained the required licenses. The Division's order also requires Mr. Clack to post a bond or other cash security with the Division in the amount of $50,000 to protect consumers. The Division ordered Mr. Clack to reimburse all of the money he collected from consumers for the unlicensed driveway paving services he sold and performed. In pleadings accompanying the charges, the Division identified six consumer victims who are owed a total of $66,600.
Mr. Clack, also known as Tommy Clark or Ed Clack, operated using the following trade names: Maryland Asphalt, Maryland Asphalt Paving Company and County Asphalt. Consumers with complaints against Mr. Clack or any of his companies may call the Consumer Protection Division at 410-576-6569 or write to the Consumer Protection Division at 200 St. Paul Place, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202. A hearing on the Statement of Charges is scheduled for February 1, 2012, at the Office of Administrative Hearings, 11101 Gilroy Road, Hunt Valley, MD 21031.
Attorney General Gansler urged consumers to contact the Consumer Protection Division and the Maryland Home Improvement Commission before hiring a driveway paver or other home improvement contractor to check their license status and whether any complaints have been lodged against them. He also urged consumers to not do business with any contractors who refuse to provide estimates or who demand payment before the work is performed.
In making the announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked the Maryland Home Improvement Commission and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation for their assistance in this matter.