(DES MOINES, Iowa) A Polk County judge ordered a West Des Moines contracting company to reimburse dozens of customers more than $160,000, barred the company and its owners from future residential contracting business, and restricted their commercial contracting business, after Attorney General Tom Miller alleged that the defendants violated Iowa consumer fraud and door-to-door sales laws.
Polk County District Court Judge Brad McCall last week issued the court order, called a consent judgment, against IQ Renovation, LLC, and owners Megan Troyer Marlow (formerly Megan Troyer) and Timothy Marlow. Marlow also operated under the company name of “Energy Savers,” and has previously listed company addresses in West Des Moines and Clive.
Miller sought the court order after dozens of Iowa consumers filed consumer protection complaints against IQ Renovation, Marlow and Troyer. After investigating the complaints, Miller filed a lawsuitagainst the defendants on June 2, 2011. In the consent judgment, which resolves the lawsuit, the Consumer Protection Division alleged that the defendants:
- accepted advance payments without completing or even starting construction projects;
- failed to provide labor, services, materials and consumer reimbursements;
- misrepresented how they would use customers’ down payments;
- misrepresented construction project start dates;
- accepted payments from customers without paying subcontractors and suppliers;
misrepresented their construction business experience and level of involvement in construction projects;
- failed to provide adequate construction workmanship that met manufacturer standards and/or building codes and failed to meet consumer specifications;
- misrepresented their insurance coverage;
- misrepresented consumer releases and/or lien waivers for materials or labor;
- failed to disclose that consumers who offered testimonials were compensated;
- misrepresented consumers’ rights to cancel;
- refused to respond to customer inquiries and complaints;
- failed to honor valid cancellations.
“We don’t take it lightly when we ask a judge to forbid or even restrict someone from doing business,” Miller said. “But in this case, because of the long and established pattern of misrepresentations and other misconduct to a large number of consumers, we felt this is clearly in the public’s best interests. Though the defendants denied wrongdoing, our office took this unusual step to protect Iowa consumers.”
In 2004, Marlow signed an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) as the owner and operator of “Epic Homes, LLC,” which was not registered with the state, as required, as a construction contractor. In that case, more than three dozen consumers filed complaints with the Consumer Protection Division. Consumers alleged that Marlow entered into contracts with consumers and accepted funds, but provided partial work or no work to the consumers. In that AVC, Marlow agreed not to request and accept advance payments for materials, labor or other expenses before the contract was completed, agreed to deliver materials within five days purchased with consumers’ payments, and agreed to comply with Iowa’s Door-to-Door Sales Act. Miller alleged that Marlow violated this agreement.
In 2007, Marlow was a managing agent, but not an owner, of Central Iowa Construction (C.I.C.), LLC, when the Consumer Protection Division received complaints from consumers who alleged the company accepted consumer payments to provide home repair or contractor services but failed to provide all, or in some cases, any, services under the contracts. Miller later obtained a $114,616 judgment against the company for consumer reimbursement, in addition to a court injunction controlling the company’s future business conduct.
Consumers who allege that IQ Renovation has violated any agreements or Iowa’s consumer protection laws should file a complaint by contacting the Consumer Protection Division atwww.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov. Consumers can also file complaints by phone by calling 515-281-5926, or 888-777-4590, toll free, outside the Des Moines area. Or write us at Office of Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, Hoover Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319.
For more information on protecting yourself against contractors, go to www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov, click on “Protecting Consumers,” then click on “Consumer Advisories” to view the April, 2012 Consumer Advisory titled “Don’t Let a Contractor ‘Put the Fix in’ on YOUR Home Repairs & Improvements.”