WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A judge has ruled against a Wichita-area contractor after customers complained about the contractor. Now, the contractor has to pay back the customers and pay fines.
District Attorney Marc Bennett says the customers in Derby hired Brad Newman Contracting for a home improvement project that involved removing and replacing a concrete deck around a swimming pool.
Bennett says Brad Newman was unlicensed, failed to get the necessary permit, failed to give the customers the right to cancel, and failed to “provide a material benefit.” As a result, the DA filed suit, alleging that Newman violated the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.
During a civil bench trial in November, Bennett says that Newman admitted during testimony that he was not licensed in Derby when he contracted the work and that he never obtained permits from the City of Derby for the project.
The DA says City inspectors testified that the project required a permit and the work Newman did would not pass inspection. Bennett says Newman failed to install a grounding wire in the concrete around the pool, which can only be fixed by completely removing the concrete.
Judge Stephen Ternes agreed that Newman violated the KCPA. He ordered Newman to pay:
- $11,628.75 in restitution
- $4,500 in civil penalties
- $1,500 in investigative fees
The judge also ordered that Newman stop any activity violating the KCPA.
KSN News tried to reach Newman for his comment. We have not heard back yet.
Bennett has advice for people who want to hire contractors for home projects. First, he said the contractors are required to be qualified and licensed. So, ask to see the licenses and permits before letting the work begin.
According to the DA, in Wichita and some areas of Sedgwick County, the Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department ensures compliance with codes by issuing permits and performing inspections.
However, some County municipalities, like Derby, have their own building codes that contractors must follow. Therefore, work may require permits based on the applicable code.
Also, anyone engaging in door-to-door sales or offering their services outside of their place of business is required to provide specific oral and duplicate written notices that customers can cancel their contract within three days.
Bennett suggests doing some research, including checking with the Better Business Bureau, before hiring a contractor.