Carroll Co. Plumbing Companies, Owner Ordered to Pay More Than $1M
Employees lacked licenses, permits not obtained, required inspections not performed
Baltimore, MD ( Jan. 9, 2013) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced that his Consumer Protection Division issued a Final Order against two Carroll County plumbing companies and their owner, which were found to have committed numerous violations of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act. All State Plumbing, Inc., and the similarly named All State Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc., and their owner, Wayne Garrity, Sr., of Hampstead, deceived consumers by allowing employees who were not licensed plumbers to sell and perform plumbing services, charging consumers fees for permits that were never obtained and failing to schedule required inspections.
"This plumber played by his own set of rules and took advantage of unsuspecting consumers," said Attorney General Gansler. "The severe penalty reflects the known extent of the violations and the large number of consumers who were harmed by this illicit business."
The Consumer Protection Division found Garrity, his companies and their employees had a long history of violating state and local plumbing codes, including their failure to obtain permits and using unlicensed individuals to perform plumbing services. In the case before it, the Division found at least 7,079 violations of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act - more than 6,000 of which involved a single employee who worked for more than five years without the required plumber's license. An additional 692 violations were based on instances where Garrity and his company installed water heaters in consumers' homes, but failed to obtain the required permit or schedule required inspections.
The violations found by the Division took place across Maryland, for thousands of jobs in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Washington counties, and Baltimore city. Consumers who had water heaters installed in their homes were usually charged $150 for the permits that were never obtained. In each of the affected jurisdictions, following the installation of a gas water heater (and in most, following the installation of an electric water heater), Garrity and his companies were required to have their work inspected to ensure it was done safely and correctly. However, these inspections were not performed in most of the installations that were reviewed by the Division.
The Division's Order also requires Garrity and his companies to return all of the payments they received from consumers for unlicensed plumbing services and permits that were not provided, with an initial restitution payment of $250,000. The Order also requires Garrity and his companies to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $707,900 and costs of $65,129.54.
Further, the Division's Order requires Garrity and his companies to only use licensed plumbers to perform plumbing services, to comply with all state, municipal and local code requirements, including obtaining permits and scheduling inspections, and to document their compliance with the Final Order to the Division and the consumers with whom they do business.
Attorney General Gansler urges consumers to contact the Consumer Protection Division and the Maryland Board of Plumbing before hiring people to perform plumbing work to check their license status and whether any complaints have been lodged against them.
For more information regarding the Order, consumers may call the Consumer Protection hotline at 410-528-8662 or 888-743-0023.