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Willoughby homeowners offer advice after dealing with contractor-related property damage

Willoughby homeowners issue advice, after reporting contractor related property damage
Posted at 10:55 PM, Jan 17, 2023

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — Dawn Igarashi and Terri Sainto, of Willoughby, are still waiting for property repairs to be done for damage they said was caused by a snow-plowing contractor nearly a year ago

Igarashi told News 5, the plowing contractor caused damage to the garage door on her relatively new home back in January 2022 after a big snow storm struck Northeast Ohio. Igarashi said the contractor has promised to pay for the more than $600 in damage multiple times but has never made good on restitution towards garage door repairs she made last September.

“So, he hit it once and then he must have backed up and hit it again. We heard two hits when were in the house, we heard two loud booms,” Igarashi said. “I believed him for like nine months that he was going to pay us, he said he sent checks. But, we never received that check, he said 'did you ever get cash?' I said no. 'OK,' he said. 'I will drop one off'—he never came.”

Sainato reported a similar situation involving the same plowing contractor. She said he caused significant lawn damage at her home, and then later she found a gash in her garage door but couldn't prove it was caused during snow removal. Sainato said it cost her more than $200 for lawn repairs. Sainato said the contractor promised he would take care of the lawn in the spring, but he never lived up to his promise.

“He turfed our yards...terrible on both sides," Sainato said. “In the big mounds of snow there were big thick chunks of dirt and grass on top of it, and I’m like, 'oh no, this is going to look terrible.'”

News 5, is so far, not going to name the contractor involved in this case, because he responded immediately and agreed to work on a solution for both Igarashi and Sainato.

Ericka Dilworth, Cleveland Better Business Bureau Director of Operations, urged consumers to remain calm and be kind when asking a contractor to address damage on their property.

Dilworth said if a contractor refuses to address the situation or pay for repair costs, homeowners should file complaints with the BBB and the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

Dilworth said homeowners should also check with their city building department to determine of the contractor is licensed and bonded to do work in their community. Dilworth said in some cases a claim can be filed through the city with the contractor's insurance company on file and funds can be issued for repairs.

“The last step is to file in small claims court—a lot of people may not want to do that, but sometimes that’s how it is, there is a small filling fee," Dilworth said. “When selecting a contractor, your city is likely going to have a list of contractors that they’re familiar with and that they might recommend to you.”

Sainato issued her own recommendations. "Everybody should know that they’re licensed, bonded, certified and insured and show you that up front," Sainato said. "I've learned my lesson, I won't do business with them if they aren't licensed and bonded."

News 5 will follow-up on this developing story.