Madigan settles with Downers Grove home improvement firm accused of fraud

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has reached a nearly $1 million settlement with a Downers Grove-based home improvement business accused of misleading hundreds of customers into paying for repair work they did not realize they had agreed to and may not have wanted.

Madigan entered the settlement in Cook County circuit court with American Dream Home Improvement Inc. to resolve allegations the company deceived homeowners in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and five other counties into hiring it to do roof and home repairs following storms.

The settlement will provide restitution to consumers who have filed complaints with Madigan's office or who file a complaint with the office by April 8.

Madigan sued the company in 2017, alleging sales representatives went door-to-door, usually following severe weather, offering free property inspections, home repair services and public adjusting services. In the lawsuit, Madigan alleged the salespeople frequently pressured homeowners into signing forms to authorize free damage inspections when the company actually intended to enforce the documents as contracts for repair work.

Madigan's lawsuit alleged the company's forms were misleading, contained contradictory information and did not include required disclosures such as the work to be performed, parts and materials, total cost or charges, the start or completion dates and a Notice of Cancellation as required by state law.

Many homeowners also were unaware the forms included language leaving them responsible for paying additional costs above what their insurance would cover.

According to Madigan, many people were unaware of the details of the forms they had signed, or that work would begin without their consent. In addition, the lawsuit alleged residents who proceeded with the home repairs later contacted Madigan's office to report low-quality or incomplete work.

"For too many homeowners in search of property inspections and home repair services after storms, working with American Dream was nothing but a nightmare," Madigan said in a written statement.

A spokesman for the company, which admits no wrongdoing, said officials "made the decision to cooperate" after learning the lawsuit had been filed, "so that we could continue to move forward and refocus our energy on what we do best-providing homeowners the superior customer service and quality craftsmanship they've come to expect from ADHI."

Under the settlement, the company must pay into a restitution fund that Madigan's office will distribute to homeowners who file complaints with her Consumer Fraud Bureau and who qualify for relief. The settlement also provides for restitution to consumers who already have filed complaints with Madigan's office, and prohibits the company from collecting money from consumers who filed complaints.

Complaint forms are available on Madigan's website or by calling her Consumer Fraud Hotline in Chicago at (800) 386-5438.

Illinois attorney general sues suburban business

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