Department Revokes Contractor Registration, Orders Civil Penalties and Restitution for Victimized Consumers
Hot Top Paving Violated Home Improvement Act and Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act
The Department of Consumer Protection has issued its Final Decision and Order in the case of Brian S. Curylo of New Britain, Connecticut, d/b/a Hot Top Paving, revoking Mr. Curylo’s Connecticut registration for home improvement work, ordering restitution to five consumers that he defrauded in the amount of $30,990, and levying civil penalties in the amount of $5,750.
The Department issued an Administrative Complaint in October 2013 charging Curylo with numerous violations of Connecticut’s Home Improvement Act and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The agency had received complaints beginning last March from consumers who had been approached by, and who had paid, Curylo’s company for driveway paving jobs that were unfinished, overpriced, and of inferior quality.
In one case, Hot Top workers even began excavating an existing driveway despite being told immediately beforehand that no driveway work was wanted at that time.
In a separate case, Curylo charged a 68 year old woman $6,450 for an inferior paving job on her driveway, then returned uninvited on three additional days in less than two weeks to perform additional work on the same driveway, for which he presented three additional bills and was immediately paid by the woman. In total, Curylo collected payments totaling $21,050 from the woman for a job that had to be redone correctly by a different contractor who valued the job at less than $4,000.
Numerous complaints indicated that Curylo did not complete the work that was contracted and paid for, nor did he respond to his customers’ requests for a refund of their money. In the course of its investigation, the Department also discovered that Brian Curylo had provided false information on his application for a Connecticut home improvement registration, omitting a 2004 felony conviction for conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree. By obtaining his registration through misrepresentation of his criminal history, Curylo provided grounds for revocation under the law.
“This case highlights important points for consumers who hire home improvement contractors,” Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said. “Be skeptical of someone who approaches you first – find someone with good references from people you trust. Always check with the Department of Consumer Protection to make sure the contractor has an up-to-date registration. Make sure you get a written, signed, dated and detailed contract that includes a start date, end date, and all aspects of the work to be done, including the quality of the materials to be used. The contract should also tell you that you have three business days to cancel. Finally, never pay in full upfront. Depending on the length of the project, a good rule-of thumb is to pay 1/3 at the start, 1/3 when the project is nearly complete, and the last third after you have checked the final work and are satisfied with it.”
The Department of Consumer Protection offers guidance on home improvement on its websites, SmartConsumer.ct.gov and ct.gov/dcp. Written complaints can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The toll-free consumer helpline number is 1 (800) 842-2649.