Following enforcement action by Attorney General Neronha, R.I. court issues injunction against deceptive contractor


Outcome paves the way for Attorney General to hold other deceptive businesses accountable for similar violations


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Providence County Superior Court judge has ordered a deceptive contractor to stop performing contracting work following an enforcement action filed by the Office of the Attorney General against the contractor and his companies.


On April 24, 2023, Superior Court Justice Kevin F. McHugh imposed an injunction prohibiting Michael Bresette (age 52 and his companies, BTTR LLC and HAM Inc., from operating as contractors. The Court also determined that the State was likely to succeed on its claims that the defendant’s solicitation of work without a valid contractor registration, performing work without obtaining required building permits, and practice of overbilling customers each violates the Rhode Island Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA).


“The Court’s decision sends a clear message: businesses that cheat, cut corners, and ignore Rhode Island law will be held accountable,” said Attorney General Neronha. “Rhode Islanders should be able to trust that contracted service providers are well-qualified, that their work is safe for their customers, and that they actually perform the work for which they are hired and paid. And this ruling applies beyond the home restoration and improvement industry – the Deceptive Trade Practices Act requires all businesses play by the rules and deal fairly and honestly with their customers. I thank the General Assembly for strengthening the Deceptive Trade Practices Act in 2021, which allowed us to act on behalf of Rhode Islanders, leading to this recent outcome.”


In its ruling, the Court made clear that performing and soliciting contractor work without a valid registration, performing electrical and plumbing work without proper licensure, and failing to obtain required building permits, are all activities prohibited by the DTPA.


The Court specifically found fault with the defendant’s practices of billing customers and their insurance companies for work they never performed, inflating the costs of the work they did perform, and performing incomplete or improper work. The Court’s decision also found that the defendant may be held personally liable for his deceptive conduct after the State presented evidence that he personally drove his companies’ decision-making.





In July 2022, the State filed a complaint against the defendant, obtaining a temporary restraining order to halt engaging in mitigation or restoration work. Now, the defendants will be prohibited from engaging in that work until the case has resolved.


The Department of Business Regulation (DBR) had previously suspended Mr. Bresette’s contractor registration in February 2022 and prohibited BTTR from soliciting new customers.  However, the defendant continued to solicit new customers, ignoring DBR’s enforcement actions.


As the Attorney General’s Office continues to pursue its case, consumers who have been harmed by these defendants, or similar practices, are urged to file a complaint with the Office’s Consumer and Economic Justice Unit.


Given the high demand for home improvement work, as well as rising costs for materials during the pandemic, Rhode Islanders are encouraged to exercise caution when hiring contractors.  Consumers should make sure contractors are registered with DBR, examine all estimates and invoices carefully, obtain references, and request quotes from several companies before beginning a major home improvement or restoration project.



Deceptive Trade Practices Act


In 2021, Attorney General Neronha worked with the General Assembly to pass legislation that restored the authority of the Office of the Attorney General to protect Rhode Island consumers against violations of the DTPA, a state law that prohibits a number of unfair business practices.

 Additional efforts led by the Attorney General under the newly-strengthened DTPA include lawsuits against auto dealers for allegedly unfair pricing practices and delivering $15,000 in restitution to a consumer who was deceived by a contractor.