Attorney General Sues Man Who Pressured Consumers to Buy Homes and Pocketed Deposits
Defendant collected payments from consumers, then did not provide the homes or refund buyers
the North Carolina Attorney General's Office has filed a lawsuit seeking refunds for consumers ripped off after paying for a manufactured home.
According to a press release issued by the North Carolina Department of Justice (NCDOJ), George Henry Smith is accused of tricking consumers into paying thousands for manufactured houses that he was not actually authorized to sell, then not providing the houses and refusing to refund the consumers.
The complaint requests that the court cancel all contracts that buyers signed with Smith and that it order Smith to refund the buyers, as well as pay $5,000 in civil penalties. It also requests that Smith be permanently barred from using business practices that are unfair or deceptive; advertising or trying to sell a manufactured house without a license; and accepting new orders or payments for such houses in the state of North Carolina.
An investigation performed by the North Carolina Attorney General's Office revealed that the defendant advertised used and repossessed manufactured houses while at his workplace, cell phone store Page Talk, as well as at other locations within the Robeson County area. He particularly targeted consumers whose English skills were limited and used Spanish-language business cards.
The lawsuit alleges that, when a consumer expressed interest in purchasing a manufactured house, the defendant showed them houses that he was not permitted to sell. He told buyers at Prevatte Home Sales and Terry Pate Home Sales in Lumberton that he was a salesman, while he told employees at the sales lots that he was an agent representing the buyer.
Smith allegedly put pressure on the buyers to sign fake purchase agreements and to pay deposits in amounts as large as $9,800. The consumers contacted the sales lots when the homes they believed they had purchased did not arrive, only to find that the houses had already been sold to another buyer or had never even been for sale. Then Smith refused to refund the buyers' money, which left numerous families unable to pay rent and forced them to move in with family members.
"Before you put down money on a manufactured home, check out the dealer or agent thoroughly," Cooper encouraged consumers in the press release. "Buying a home is the biggest purchase many families will ever make, and you owe it to yourself to ask around in your community for a reputable place to make such an important purchase."
Consumers who paid Smith for a manufactured house should file a complaint with the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.
Make Sure You Aren't Missing These 10 Hidden Home Insurance Credits
You probably know that measures like smoke detectors, a security system, and insuring both your home and car with the same company can lower your home insurance premium. What you may not know is that property and casualty companies offer several other and lesser-known credits that may reduce your premium even more.
Thousands of North Carolina Wells Contaminated With High Manganese Levels
Researchers at North Carolina State University are estimating that thousands of wells in North Carolina—and more than one million wells in the Southeast—have high levels of manganese. The element occurs naturally in soil; however, studies have linked long-term exposure to it with health problems such as cancer and heart defects.
Your Home's Water Heater Might Be at Risk of a Sudden Flash Fire
Is your home's gas water heater safe? There's a very good chance that it's perfectly fine. But there is a hidden danger in all non-electric water heaters that most consumers don't know about until their houses go up in smoke. You can find your water heater suddenly in flames.
Is a tankless water heater a worthwhile investment for your home?
For many consumers, a tankless water heater can pay for itself very quickly, not to mention give a seemingly endless supply of hot water! There is, however, more that goes into making the decision to replace your bulky water heater with a slim tankless model than a simple yes or no answer.