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Penalties issued for shoddy repair work

Repair company reaches settlement that includes paying restitution for inflated bills.

March 25, 2009|By Veronica Rocha

GLENDALE — Three Glendale residents, along with five other people, were ordered to pay $3 million in penalties and restitution as part of a settlement that alleged their city-based company charged thousands of customers for shoddy and overpriced home repair work, officials announced Monday.

Avetik Avo Gyandzhyan, 38, his wife, Lilit Lusparyan, 28, and Estine Akopyan, 28, worked for the Glendale-based parent company, SRVS Charge Inc., and its affiliated companies, which overcharged about 6,000 customers each year for poor-quality home repair since 1989, according to the state attorney general’s office.

Attorney General Edmund Brown Jr. and the California’s Contractors State License Board reached a settlement March 12, but they announced their agreement with the three Monday.

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Alisa Oganyan, 35, of North Hollywood, Vardui Terabelian, 45, of Van Nuys, and Burbank residents Marine Metspakyan, 33, Sarkis Terabelian, 43, who owned the Glendale company, and Zohrab Mkhitarian, 40, who was the company’s general manager, were also named in the settlement and ordered to pay restitution.

“In addition to taking action against the principals of this company, we made it a priority to get restitution for victims of this scheme,” board spokesman Rick Lopes said. “Over the past 20 years, the [board] has taken a number of administrative actions against the company.”

Of the $3 million the eight must pay in penalties and restitution, $1.3 million must be used to repay customers, according to the attorney general’s office.

As part of the settlement, the board will monitor the eight’s operations for a year, and they will be required to register all company service technicians for a year with the board so criminal background checks can be done.

The eight will be prevented from overcharging customers and imposing fees that aren’t applicable to the work that was done. They will only be allowed to use a maximum of five business licenses and must disclose directors’, officers’ and employees’ names.

They are forbidden to engage in false advertisement and must keep track of customer complaints, which they must investigate and try to resolve.

“By putting these strict restrictions in place, we’ll have a much better ability to keep a close watch on their activities,” Lopes said. “If they break terms of the settlement, they can be found in contempt and could face jail time.”

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