Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit against a Downers Grove, Ill.-based home improvement business accusing it of defrauding and misleading hundreds of homeowners, including residents in Rock Island, Knox and Whiteside counties.
Madigan filed a lawsuit against American Dream Home Improvement Inc. The suit, filed Nov. 16 in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges that American Dream Home deceived homeowners in 12 Illinois counties into hiring the company for home repair work that the residents did not realize they agreed to and may not have wanted.
According to the complaint, American Dream Home sales representatives went door-to-door, usually following severe weather, offering free property inspections, home repair services and public adjusting services. Residents were pressured to sign forms believing they were only agreeing to home inspections.
Shortly after, American Dream Home appeared at the homes to conduct repairs. Residents who proceeded with the home repairs later contacted Madigan’s office to report shoddy or incomplete work.
In addition to the Quad-City region counties, Madigan said the scheme impacted homeowners in these counties: Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Peoria, Will and Winnebago.
"American Dream Home has been more of a nightmare for hundreds of Illinois homeowners," Madigan said in a news release. "The company has a history of scamming people into expensive repair work they did not want, and today’s lawsuit should put an end to their deceptive practices."
Madigan alleged that American Dream Home's salespeople frequently pressured homeowners into signing forms to authorize free damage inspections when the company actually intended to enforce the documents as contracts. In addition, the forms were misleading and many homeowners were unaware that the forms included language leaving them responsible for paying additional costs above what their insurance would cover.
Despite a 2012 agreement with the state to comply with state laws, the firm has continued its fraudulent practices, Madigan said. Since 2012, her office has received more than 100 complaints and the Better Business Bureau received more than 250 complaints in the past three years.
The suit asks the court to provide restitution to impacted homeowners, ban the company from doing business in Illinois and impose civil penalties.
Homeowners who believe they may have been defrauded by American Dream Home or other contractors should contact Madigan's Consumer Fraud Hotline at 1-800-386-5438 (Chicago).
Assistant Attorneys General Janice Parker and Tracy Walsh are handling the case.