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Laramie County Governmental Complex on 20th Street in Cheyenne. WTE/file

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that Mitchell Brown's garage was red-tagged by the city due to poor electrical work by Grandpa's Shop. According to court documents, it was due to the shop doing the electrical work "without the requisite specialized licensing." The mistake was due to reporter error. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle apologizes for the error.

CHEYENNE – A former handyman shop in Cheyenne is being sued by the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office for allegedly violating the Wyoming Consumer Protection Act, which cost numerous customers thousands of dollars.

Grandpa’s Shop LLC, owned by Luke Christensen, which operated from Sept. 12, 2012, to Nov. 9, 2018, is alleged to have “engaged in a pattern of unfair and deceptive trade practices against residents of Wyoming through transactions for contractor/handyman services for consumers’ homes,” according to the lawsuit filed Nov. 22 in Laramie County District Court.

The case accuses the shop of misrepresenting sponsorship or approval, misrepresenting standard or grade, misrepresenting warranty and unfair acts or practices.

The lawsuit seeks a maximum civil penalty of $10,000 imposed for each violation of the Wyoming Consumer Protection Act and $15,000 for each violation where a victim is over 60 years old. The suit is also asking for a total of $83,495 in damages for the money allegedly wrongfully taken from consumers.

According to court documents:

The shop advertised handyman services, general repair services, renovation services and more to Wyoming homeowners. Some of these services required licenses and permits from local entities, such as a general contracting license from the city of Cheyenne.

The city revoked the shop’s contracting license in July 2017 for both the shop and Christensen. Despite this action, the shop continued to advertise and sell contracting services to customers. The shop also advertised services that require specialized licensing, which they didn’t have, such as plumbing and electrical services.

Often after customers would hire the shop for its services, it would leave “certain consumers’ homes unfinished and in a state of disrepair.”

The shop also took money from individuals for contracting or other home services, and didn’t begin work on the homes as promised. The shop would also work on consumers’ homes without proper permitting.

Some projects that the shop worked on were “red tagged” by the city of Cheyenne because the work was done without proper licensing or poorly. In some cases, this would leave customers having to redo the work they hired the shop to do at their own expense without a refund from the shop.

The shop also closed without notifying or refunding customers they took payment from to start other projects. The customers found out the business closed due to the shop’s locked office and a sign saying the business was closed.

One customer that was impacted was Mitchell Brown, who paid the shop $19,000 to build a garage, but the garage that was built for him by the shop was red-tagged due to the shop doing electrical work "without the requisite specialized licensing." The shop refunded Brown less than Brown paid for the garage.

Patti Jones paid the shop $25,000 to build an addition onto her home, which was ultimately red-tagged by the city due to roof problems on the addition. The shop didn’t refund Jones or finish the project.

Kristina Sage paid $21,488 to the shop to remodel her basement. The shop was unlicensed to do plumbing, and due to the plumbing damage caused during the remodel, Sage had to pay another plumber an additional $15,000 to fix it. She never received a refund from the shop.

The lawsuit goes on to list five more consumers who were impacted by the business who were left in similar situations. In addition to the lawsuit, there are also complaints detailing comparable scenarios listed on the Better Business Bureau’s website and on Angie’s List.

Isabella Alves is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s criminal justice reporter. She can be reached at ialves@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3128. Follow her on Twitter @IsabellaAlves96.

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