BALTIMORE, MD – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced Thursday that the Consumer Protection Department had filed charges against contractor John Eberl for allegedly taking money from consumers for home improvement projects but failing to do the job or get the money did not refund.
The department also alleged that the supply and sale of Eberls’ home improvement services without a license violated consumer protection law. Maryland law requires home improvement businesses to be licensed by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission.
The complaint filed by the department alleges that Eberl has contracted decking, fencing and other home improvement contracts with several consumers in Prince George, Harford, Caroline, Montgomery and Howard Counties, and has raised large deposits, often thousands of dollars before doing any work.
The department claimed that Eberl did not complete the work after collecting the deposits and, in many cases, did not even begin. The department claims that at no point did Eberl have the necessary licenses to offer, sell, or offer home improvement. With the complaint an order is sought, according to which Eberl has to repay the consumer, stop the violation of the law and pay a fine for his violations.
In addition, the department is filing an order requiring Eberl and Kelly Burke, his former business partner, to pay the amounts they owe under a previous settlement agreement. Eberl and Burke entered into a settlement agreement with the division in 2014 to resolve similar allegations that the sports uniforms company they run, Sports55, Inc., received payments from consumers for uniforms they never provided. The prior settlement requires Burke and Eberl to return any monies they have raised from consumers who have not received their uniforms or have not received a refund, but those amounts have not been paid in full.
“Making upfront payments, failing to perform the promised work, withholding refunds, and failing to obtain proper licenses are violations of Maryland consumer laws,” said Attorney General Frosh. “We are trying to make things easier for the homeowner, and we are calling on the court to impose penalties on Eberl as well.”
Contractors must be licensed by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission. Consumers can review a contractor’s license through the Home Improvement Commission website. Maryland also makes it illegal for a contractor to accept more than a third of the total contract price in advance.
Consumers with complaints against Eberl can call the Consumer Protection Department at 410-528-8662, file a complaint online at www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov, or write to the Consumer Protection Department at 200 St. Paul Place, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202.