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DC Attorney General Sues Multi-state Remodeler Curbio

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DC Attorney General Sues Multi-state Remodeler Curbio

A recent lawsuit filed alleges false promises made by contractor Curbio

By Caroline Broderick January 9, 2024
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Home improvement company Curbio faces legal action for allegedly engaging in “deception, intimidation, and fraud,” claims District of Columbia’s Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb.

Schwalb filed a lawsuit against the remodeling giant in late November alleging that Curbio targets the elderly and financially disadvantaged, promising quick, high-quality renovations that result in high return on investment. 

CEO Rick Rudman says the examples in the complaint are cherry-picked, and that Curbio “works with integrity, and we look forward to defending our strong track record of providing quality services to our customers.”  

Curbio is a leading pay-at-closing contractor. The company works with real estate agents  renovating homes for sale in order to increase the list price. DC-based Curbio operates in more than 65 markets across the country. It’s been listed as one of the fastest growing companies in the DC area by the Washington Business Journal for three consecutive years.

But Attorney General Schwalb alleges that homeowners are left with unfinished work and delayed projects performed by low quality contractors.

“From its marketing to its contracts, to its filing of liens against title, to its renovation work itself, to its unauthorized and exploitive lending practices, every aspect of Curbio’s business model is designed to line its pockets by taking advantage of District homeowners,” said Schwalb

Curbio acts as the general contractor and works with subcontractors to complete projects. The company does not get paid for its work until the home sells, and works exclusively with homes preparing to go on the market. While Curbio says its contracts are typical for a GC, it does have additional provisions for its payment model, one of which is that the client agrees to sell the home, says Rudman. If they choose, the customer can pay when the project is completed instead.

The lawsuit shares a number of alleged negative customer experiences, with one claiming  that Curbio’s subcontractors had walled over the home’s light switches, HVAC vents, and thermostat. Others outlined work that was never completed. Others accused Curbio of charging undisclosed administration fees. 

Curbio says its subcontractors come highly vetted, though the complaints outlined in the lawsuit surround poor workmanship.

Rudman outlined the vetting process as first identifying subcontractors with strong historical performance, interview, reference check, and confirmation of licensing and insurance. As these subcontractors complete work through Curbio, the company’s project managers rate each of them. 

“We also take responsibility if the subcontractor is not doing the job or doesn't do a good job, we would step in, like most general contractors, to replace them or to correct whatever problems have been caused,” Rudman told Pro Remodeler.

The subcontractors’ work is then monitored by a project manager, though a physical project manager on-site depends on the complexity of the project. Rudman says Curbio uses a combination of on-site and online project management, including photo logs by subcontractors and livestreams.



written by

Caroline Broderick

Caroline Broderick is the Managing Editor for Pro Remodeler. Most recently, she served as the associate editor for PR's sister publications, Pro Builder, Custom Builder, and PRODUCTS where she covered design, building products, trends, and more in the residential construction industry. She can be reached at cbroderick@sgcmail.com.

Comments (2)

  • Submitted by Sam Lausevic, … (not verified) on Wed, 01/10/2024 - 13:03


    The problem with large general contractors is once they subcontract the work, it’s out of their hands. They may have some type of supervision but their supervision is limited.
    The best way to do the work is to have your own employees and have direct supervision and do quality control yourself.

  • Submitted by Annalisa Xioutas (not verified) on Wed, 01/10/2024 - 14:54


    Having come from the default industry that wreaked havoc in the late 2000s, this smacks of the old days of turn-and-burn "national vendors" and rent-to-own schemes who operate under a virtual model of general contracting, which will only be rewarded by high volume, low margin projects. How do they get there? Eventually burning through good subs by paying less due to margin pressures (and likely looking for ways to NOT pay them at all) and providing poor, or average at best customer service, eventually ending up with low quality results. And who would be ok with this? Desperate clients or those unaware they are being duped - this demographic sadly shares similar qualities, and by the sound of the AG's comments, they are exactly those he described. From a business perspective, the strategy is genius, since no one typically wants a closing to fall through after all it took to get there, so desperate people will do almost anything to get deals done. And what easy pickings when emotions are high, process fatigue has set in on both sides (owner and buyer alike) and all parties just want to move on. But to (allegedly) use this as your model is despicable. I don't have high hopes of this being a terminal resolution, as these companies have a knack for insidious regeneration behind an electronic veil; but if the allegations are proved, at the very least, it should hit stakeholders hard in the very pockets they viciously protect and get them far away from the public who trusted them!

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