Builders, Inc. v. Dowling

In Builders, Inc. v. Dowling, 247 Conn. 218, 226-27, 720 A.2d 235 (1998) the Court stated: "The Home Improvement Act is a remedial statute that was enacted for the purpose of providing the public with a form of consumer protection against unscrupulous home improvement contractors. . . . The aim of the statute is to promote understanding on the part of consumers with respect to the terms of home improvement contracts and their right to cancel such contracts so as to allow them to make informed decisions when purchasing home improvement services. . . . While the purposes of the statute are advanced by an interpretation that makes compliance with the requirements of 20-429 (a) mandatory, it does not necessarily follow that advancement of the purposes also requires that the mandatory compliance with each subsection be technically perfect. . . . In light of our prior interpretations of 20-429 (a) and the legislative history of that subsection, we conclude that a construction that would require technically perfect compliance with each subdivision is inappropriate. Rather, an interpretation of that section that acknowledges and furthers the remedial purposes of the statute is in order." Id., at 231. The cancellation notice in Dowling failed to contain the date of the transaction and the date by which the defendants could cancel the contract. The Court determined that "the plaintiff's failure to enter the required dates on the notice of cancellation did not, under the circumstances, constitute such a deviation from the precise specifications of the act as to compel the conclusion that the contract failed to comply with the act." Id., at 233. The court further explained that "the missing information, however, easily could have been gleaned from even the most cursory review of the contract" because in immediate proximity to the space reserved in the contract for the homeowner's signature was language providing cancellation notice. Id. The court also determined that the transaction date was on the first page of the contract and from that information, the buyer could have easily determined what the cancellation period was.