HARRISBURG – Attorney General Michelle Henry announced today that her office has submitted a lawsuit against a Philadelphia-area home improvement contractor that failed to fulfill contracts with customers either by not completing work or doing so in an unsatisfactory manner.
The lawsuit alleges that Max Contractors Inc., and alleged owner Murillo Sousa, contracted with Pennsylvania consumers for various general contracting and home improvement services, accepted substantial payments from consumers for materials and services, but did not perform the work, failed to complete it, or did so in an unprofessional manner.
According to the lawsuit, Sousa himself made promises to consumers that their complaints would be resolved, but never delivered on his promises and did not issue refunds.
“Sousa strung along customers with empty promises that ultimately led to Pennsylvanians being scammed out of their hard-earned money,” said Attorney General Henry. “He pocketed the money without completing the work — that’s a violation of the law, pure and simple.”
The lawsuit alleges that Murillo Sousa may have also used the names LMN General Construction LLC, Skyline Contractor Imperium LLC, Easy Way Construction LLC, Clean Future General Construction LLC, and MPS Home Improvement LLC, for his business. Sousa himself may have also been known to consumers as Murillo Da Costa Sousa, Murillo Sousa Dacosta, Murillo Da Costa, and Murillo Costa.
In one instance, it is alleged that a consumer contracted with Max Contractors Inc., and Sousa for a project that cost more than $50,000, and Max Contractors and Sousa never obtained the required construction permits, failed to comply with building codes, put a door frame in the wrong place, placed windows improperly, punctured a gas line, and created a leaking roof which caused water damage. Max Contractors and Sousa abandoned the project prior to completion and one contractor who inspected the work noted that it was inadequate, not up to code, and structurally unsound, with “[t]oo many issues to list them all…”
The lawsuit requests, among other things, that the court order the defendants to:
- Be permanently prevented from doing business as a home improvement contractor in Pennsylvania and any other work or practice that violates the Consumer Protection Law and the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act;
- Pay restitution to all impacted consumers;
- Pay civil penalties of $1,000 for each violation of the Consumer Protection Law and $3,000 for each violation involving a consumer 60 years or older.
Any consumers who believe they or someone they know may be a victim of these practices should file a complaint with the Bureau of Consumer Protection at www.attorneygeneral.gov, call 800-441-2555, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Inspectors, contractors, laborers, suppliers, or anyone else who may have information regarding the business practices of Max Contractors Inc., Murillo Sousa, or any similar aliases he may use are also encouraged to contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The Office of Attorney General also reminds Pennsylvania homeowners who are considering a remodeling or home improvement project to review the following tips to ensure the contractor selected is trustworthy:
- Do your research
- Check references
- Be wary of high pressure tactics
- Get more than one estimate
- Get a written contract
- Check your contract for the right to cancel date and project start and completion dates
- Review the entire project with your contractor
- Don’t sign a completion certificate until all work called for in the contract is done to your satisfaction
- Ensure your contractor is registered with the Office of Attorney General – visit the Bureau of Consumer Protection’s Contractor Registration website or call 1-888-520-6680
- For more information on Home Improvement contractor requirements in Pennsylvania visit the Office of Attorney General’s website.
The Complaint was submitted in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas and is being handled by Deputy Attorney General Shawn Bachman.
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