ALLENTOWN, PA – An Allentown-based HVAC contractor is being sued by the attorney general’s office for allegedly misleading senior citizens to spend money on unnecessary home improvements.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that his office had filed a lawsuit against home improvement company Curtis Total Service, Inc., company manager Richard Price, and HVAC field supervisor Matthew Price for misleading sales practices.
“The suit alleges that Curtis Total Service, located in Lehigh County, took advantage of unsuspecting consumers, many of whom were elderly and lived alone, and used deceptive tactics to trick consumers into paying for unnecessary home improvements, including costly purchases of HVAC systems,” AG’s office reported.
As of today the company has not released a public statement regarding the lawsuit.
“Curtis Total Service flat out lied to Pennsylvanians,” said AG Shapiro. “They misinformed consumers about their right to cancel contracts and in some instances, refused cancellation outright. They used bad information, partial information, and dirty tricks to pad their bills at the expense of older Pennsylvanians. No company, no matter how big, is allowed to violate our consumer protection laws. Try it and I’ll see you in court.”
The Attorney General’s Office issued the following statement regarding its case:
The suit states that, on multiple occasions, the product suggested for purchase was actually unnecessary and/or inappropriate for the consumer’s home. According to the lawsuit, in certain instances vulnerable consumers were asked to sign incomplete invoices that were later filled out or altered by a Curtis Total Service employee. Consumers were told that price breakdowns were not required by Pennsylvania law and were often misinformed of their rights to cancel the contract. Consumers who did attempt to cancel their contracts were often refused cancellation, and in some cases were threatened that they would be taken to court by Curtis Total Service.
Curtis Total Service Inc., including manager Richard Price and supervisor Matthew Price, are alleged to have engaged in high-pressure sales or scare tactics. These tactics included suggesting that consumers’ health and/or safety was at risk if they did not make the recommended purchases immediately, and insisting on commencing work immediately to deter consumers from obtaining second opinions. Consumers were given the impression that they were taking out a loan for home improvement services in a certain amount, only to later learn they had signed up for a credit card and were responsible for purchases in excess of the amount that had been verbally agreed upon.
Kathy Reither of Northampton County contacted Curtis Total Service two days before Christmas when her furnace was having trouble.
“Curtis Total Service made all these claims,” said Kathy. “All these things that were wrong with my furnace, that if he even tried to clean my furnace it was going to crumble. All lies.”
The suit alleges that Curtis Total Service also engaged in several additional violations of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law and the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act, including deceptive advertising, failure to complete home improvement contracts in a workmanlike manner, and making false statements to consumers about the financing offered.
Any consumers who believe they or their family members may have been a victim of Curtis Total Service should file a complaint online with the Bureau of Consumer Protection, email email@example.com, or call 800-441-2555.