After intervention from the Los Angeles city attorney, a company will have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution to LA residents.
California Restoration, a water damage restoration company, must pay $500,000 in a settlement after being accused of using unfair, deceptive practices to scam hundreds of customers.
LA City Attorney Mike Feuer's office examined some 200 cases of claims such as people not being allowed to cancel their contracts or the company giving people blank contracts only to later fill them in, among others. "We're talking basic consumer rights," Feuer said.
One of the victims, Tony Tubbs, said his ordeal began three years ago when he hired California Restoration to fix a water and sewage leak at his South LA home.
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Tubbs said he asked the company to ask his insurance company if it would cover the repairs. Instead of hearing back, though, Tubbs says he received a $12,000 bill.
"There's a signature on the paperwork, and we still don't know who's it is, but it's not mine," Tubbs said.
An attorney for the company said California Restoration "has made many improvements" and addressed issues like Tubbs' and those raised by Feuer, but the company still has to pay Tubbs $4,500.
In total, California Restoration must pay nearly $100,000 to 23 specific users mentioned in the case, $150,000 in fines and $250,000 to be put into a restitution account set up for additional claims.
"We're calling on consumers to reach out to us if they've been victimized, allegedly, by these practices," Feuer said.
People who think they might be victims can email the city attorney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the amount of restitution the company California Restoration owes Tony Tubbs.