NEWPORT — Chief Travis Bingham of the Newport Police Department reported that they have charged Shayne Bergeron, a 37-year-old from Irasburg, with Home Improvement Fraud.
In September 2021, a homeowner on Racetrack Road claimed to have paid Bergeron and his company, Rock Solid Landscaping, an advance of $7,000 for work on a stone wall. Bergeron later asked for an additional $3,000 for materials. Despite the payments, the stone wall was never built. Furthermore, Bergeron did not return the money when the homeowner asked for a refund.
Bergeron is due to appear in Orleans Criminal Court on Oct. 24.
“Bergeron has been charged with home improvement fraud in various other communities in this region,” stated Chief Bingham. “Homeowners diligently save to afford enhancements to their properties. They deserve honest contractors who will complete the tasks they’ve been paid for.”
For the benefit of residents, Chief Bingham and the Newport Police Department have provided some guidance from the Federal Trade Commission on hiring contractors:
- Only engage with contractors who are licensed and insured.
- Always ask the contractor for proof of insurance.
- Get recommendations for contractors from trusted acquaintances or family members.
- When researching a company online, pair its name with keywords like “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.”
- Peruse customer feedback to learn more about the contractor. Use trustworthy online rating platforms to understand the experiences of other clients.
- Obtain multiple cost estimates. Ensure that written estimates detail the work, materials, expected completion date, and the total cost. Avoid instinctively opting for the lowest estimate. If there’s a significant difference in the estimates, ask for an explanation.
- Do not pay the full amount for any project upfront.