Huntingdon Valley Home Contractor Convicted of Defrauding Nine Clients
Home renovation projects do not always go according to plan. Even when contractors give you a good faith estimate about the timetable and the cost of materials, unexpected delays can always arise. A winter storm can require the contractor to take a week or more off of work, waiting for the snow to melt. When delays happen, or when the contractors discovers that the project will cost more than the price originally quoted, the contractor should be honest with the customer about it. In any case, home contractors should respond within a reasonable interval to phone calls, text messages, or emails for clients. Unfortunately, the law does not include specific numbers about what counts as a reasonable amount of time to complete a home remodeling project or respond to communication from a customer. If a home renovation contractor collected payment from you and then stopped responding to your communications, contact a Philadelphia home contractor fraud lawyer.
Contractor Collected Payment From Clients but Never Completed Projects
The COVID-19 pandemic caused unexpected delays in almost all aspects of life. Meanwhile, the home renovation industry thrived even as many others stagnated; people who worked from home and had salaried jobs considered it the perfect time to build a home office, renovate the kitchen for more home-cooked meals, or build an additional bedroom to accommodate a multi-generational household.
Joseph Eibell cannot use the pandemic as an excuse for failing to complete the home renovation projects he was hired to implement. Police began receiving complaints about him in 2019. Four clients complained to police that they had hired Eibell to conduct extensive renovations, but he disappeared after they paid him tens of thousands of dollars. In some cases, he left multiple rooms of clients’ houses unlivable, but in other cases, he stopped responding to clients’ communications before even beginning the work.
A police investigation identified five additional customers whom Eibell defrauded. In June 2022, he was charged with nine counts of theft by deception and unfair business practices. The customers were in Bucks, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties, and he defrauded them out of a total of more than $100,000. He pleaded not guilty, and a jury convicted him at the end of a three-day trial in October 2023. The Patch news website did not provide any details about the defenses that Eibell presented at trial. It said that Eibell’s sentencing was to take place in November and that his bail was revoked between his conviction and his sentencing, but no additional reports were published regarding his sentence.
If you have been a victim of home contractor fraud, you have the right to file a civil lawsuit regardless of whether the home contractor receives criminal charges or is convicted.
Contact Louis S. Schwartz About Protecting Against Home Contractor Fraud
A Philadelphia consumer law attorney can help you if a home contractor never finished a project after you paid for it. Contact Louis S. Schwartz at CONSUMERLAWPA.com to set up a free, confidential consultation.