With spring in the air, Eyewitness News knows that the home improvement season is returning, which also means that people must be aware of shady contractors.
Eyewitness News learned about the story of the Munsons from Cromwell. Last September, Paul Munson wanted to replace all nine windows in their living room and found Marvin Klash on the Internet.
Munson told Eyewitness News that he gave Klash a $3,150 deposit on the windows and two weeks later, the windows were delivered.
"Low and behold, the inside sash was supposed to light oak to match the woodwork in the room," Munson said. "The windows were made with dark cherry."
He added that the windows completely clashed with the room.
"Completely on the opposite of the color spectrum," Munson said.
Munson said he called Klash, but said he skirted the issue when he talked.
The Munsons told Eyewitness News that they did a background check on Klash and found that his license number had expired in 2010.
The Better Business Bureau had never heard of Klash, and his address as well as his phone number were out-of-date.
"Everything he put on this paper was a misrepresentation," said Munson.
Munson demanded he get his money back, but was refused so he reached out to the Department of Consumer Protection.
They pointed him to a UConn law clinic that teaches people the ins and outs of small claims court.
In January 2013, the court sided with Munson and gave Klash until March 8 to pay back the money.
"Needless to say, March 8 came and gone, no check," Munson said.
Due to the fact Klash was at one point registered with the state, Munson could dip into what's called the home improvement fund. So if the contractor does not pay, the state will reimburse you.
"The fact that Mr. Munson dealt with the registered home improvement contractor meant that he had the protections under the statute and that was very important," said Connecticut Consumer Protection Department Commissioner Bill Rubenstein.
Munson told Eyewitness News he got his money back on April 25 and now, Klash owes the state.
"Contractors are kept on a short lease once consumers get to the point of having to access the guarantee fund," Rubenstein said.
The Department of Consumer Protection wants to remind homeowners of the following items:
Before you sign a contract, make sure the business is registered with the state.
Check for references and get recommendations from friends and even local building officials.
Always ask for a written contract.
Never pay with cash or give the full amount up front.
"If we had done our homework way in the beginning, all the energy we put in this to this wouldn't have been necessary," Munson said.
It took seven months before the Munsons got their money back.
The family told Eyewitness News that they are waiting until the summer to look for replacement windows.
As for Klash, he told Eyewitness News he had no comment.
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