Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
202 North Ninth Street
For media inquiries only, contact:
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING ANNOUNCES JUDGMENT AGAINST UNLICENSED CONTRACTOR
~ Ricky Harmon Pettit to pay more than $20,000 in restitution and $18,500 in civil penalties, attorneys' fees and costs ~
RICHMOND (April 24, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has obtained a permanent injunction and final judgment against Ricky Harmon Pettit for violating the Virginia Consumer Protection Act by providing unlicensed contractor work in consumers' homes in Central and Northern Virginia. Pettit worked under various names including Pettit's Home Improvement, Ricky H. Pettit Home Improvement, and R. H. Pettit Builders. Attorney General Herring previously announced that enforcement actions had been taken against Pettit and other unlicensed contractors last spring.
"Virginians should not have to worry about whether or not the contractor they have hired to work on their home is licensed or trained to do the work,” said Attorney General Herring. "Unlicensed contractors are not only lying to consumers about what they can do but they are also potentially putting people at risk with shoddy workmanship or poor quality construction. Any Virginians who believe they have been duped by an unlicensed contractor are encouraged to file a complaint with my Consumer Protection Section.”
The Complaint filed in 2018 alleges that in several instances Pettit offered contractor services to consumers, obtained money in advance of performing those services, and failed to follow through with the completion of those services. Pettit took payments from consumers to renovate a kitchen, install floor and wall tiles in a bathroom, and install a toilet, pedestal sink, and water heater, among other things, and never finished the work. Pettit made various false representations including that he was a plumber and that he was licensed and insured.
The permanent injunction and final judgment entered by the Page County Circuit Court earlier this month includes:
- An injunction prohibiting Pettit from engaging in further violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act and Virginia Code § 54.1-1115(B)(i), which prohibits undertaking work without a valid contractor's license;
- A judgment in the amount of $20,336.39 as restitution for three named consumers who filed complaints with the Office of the Attorney General;
- A judgment in the amount of $15,000 for civil penalties; and
- A judgment in the amount of $3,500 for attorneys' fees and expenses.
The Attorney General's Office first learned of consumer concerns relating to Pettit's Home Improvement through complaints filed with the Office. The Commonwealth is represented in this matter by Assistant Attorney General Stephen John Sovinsky.
Consumers are encouraged to remember these tips when hiring a contractor:
- Hire only licensed contractors.
- Verify the contractor's license status and check on any complaints with the Board for Contractors at http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/LicenseLookup/ or call (804) 367-8511.
- Get referrals from friends, neighbors or co-workers.
- Check references and look at past work.
- Get written estimates from at least three contractors.
- Don't automatically choose the lowest bid. Ask for an explanation of price differences.
- Get a signed contract that includes start and completion dates, payment schedule, all materials needed, any promises or warranties.
- Limit any down payment.
- Don't pay cash.
- Don't pay in full before all work is complete to your satisfaction.
- Keep all paperwork.
- You have three days to cancel most sales made at your home. If you have second thoughts, consider exercising this right.
During Attorney General Herring's administration, his Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $301 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators and transferred more than $33 million to the Commonwealth's General Fund.
In November 2016, Attorney General Herring completed a reorganization of his Consumer Protection Section to more efficiently and effectively enforce Virginia's consumer protection laws, provide exceptional customer service in resolving complaints and disputes, and provide robust consumer education to keep Virginians from being victimized by fraud, scams, or illegal or abusive business practices.
If you think you have been a victim of an unlicensed contractor please contact Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section:
o By phone: (800) 552-9963
o By email:
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