HomeImprovementExpo.com / Fraud
Home Improvement Expo (HIE) is an online contractor lead referral service operating out of Lynnbrook, NY. On November 24, 2008 I entered into a contractual agreement with CIE to become their exclusive Kitchen and Bathroom remodeling contractor In Zip Codes: 07666, 07078, 07076, 07041, 07921, 07924; and their Home Addition and Remodel Contractor in zip codes:07928 and 07940. (Exhibit A)
Within weeks of signing the contract, Erik Buckiewicz acting on behalf of HIE engaged in a practice of phone slamming my assistant and fraudulently charging my credit card, she was panicked over the occurrence and in the course of trying to rectify the situation, he maligned, mocked and taunted her. We protested directly to HIE, emailing the owner Avi Klinger, but it was only after we contested the charge with the credit card company that HIE relented and credited me back for the $800. At the same time we asked that they release us from the contract due to their unsavory business tactics, abusive treatment of my female assistant, and the fact that they had not yet consummated the deal we had made with so much as even one business lead.
They refused to allow us to withdraw and instead held us to the contract and offered to make up for their bad behavior and out and out lies by providing additional “exclusive” zip codes at no charge; I have attached the email indicating so (exhibit B). HIE further acknowledged that they had refused to honor their pre-contractual promise that once we were a client we would be able to exchange our zip codes at no charge, and offered to now provide this service.
We accepted the free zip codes: 07853, 07945, and 07960 without prejudice to our rights, stating that we intended to further protest the validity of the contract based on their illegal business practices.
While the issue remains open at this time, we have new information to augment the file which we feel must be considered, additionally please note we have still not received any valid leads from HIE. And if you refer to exhibit A, which is the latest accounting for us, you will see that despite the email from Chris Bahamonde on 12-17-2008 known as exhibit B, the company never followed through with their promise to assign us Long Valley and Morristown, and none of the three additional zip codes were ever included in our account profile.
Last week a random test of the service revealed that Home Improvement Expo had removed us from their site in all territories, and in our place have been matching other contractors to service requests in our purchased area. When I made online requests for remodeling in the areas I have exclusive contractual rights to through HIE, I was given the name and contact information of another contractor in every Zip Code except for Mendham and the information were simultaneously transmitted to other contractors who called me immediately to provide service! This is a complete breach of the contract terms and I have printed out the lead sheets associated with my test of the service. (Exhibit C, D, &E)
I have spoken with several of these other contractor’s, who called me after receiving the lead I submitted, many of whom had similar or identical experiences with HIE. They volunteered to me that their credits cards had also been falsely charged, they were promised the same flexible terms prior to contracting with HIE that we were promised, and were also subjected to different terms once under contract. One contractor in Fairfield, NJ indicated that he was given our Zip Codes for free to keep quiet after HIE had mistreated him and he threatened to dispute his contract through the credit card company(Exhibit F). Others said they had bought our zip codes outright. Both circumstances constitute an egregious breach of our contract and should be immediately remedied by a return of our funds.
I have printed out the lead sheets with the other contractor information; they were auto generated at the time I made the service requests in my territories. I would note that after Home Improvement Expo became aware that we had tested the service and unearthed their latest criminal act, they called my office and threatened to sue us for filing test leads in our own territory, then had their attorney, Greg Stohller call and request our attorneys contact information, and then they immediately began reprogramming our contact information into their lead referral system so further contractor inquiries are now redirected back to us.
This organization is no better than a band of thieves, and from what other contractors involved with them expressed openly to me, I am not alone in that sentiment. The language these men were using to describe their account representatives was vulgar and there was anger in their voices, all described having been “duped” or “ripped off”, some for eight and ten thousand dollars.
The facts speak for themselves, we purchased exclusive territories for a fee of $2000 and Home Improvement Expo has resold the exact same areas at additional profit, and reassigned them at their discretion, this is a breach of contract, and we should be credited back immediately.
I would expect this happen swiftly¸ and will be happy to provide any additional information you may need as well as the names of other contractors who are willing to make their own statements to that end.