A Washington County, Maryland, plumbing, heating and air conditioning company will have to pay restitution to customers for allegedly misleading them on the cost to unclog drains, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said on Wednesday.
Larry and Sons, Inc, which does business as Mr. Drain Cleaner, advertised a $99 special to unclog drains but allegedly didn't tell customers that it required they purchase an extended service plan of $195 and a $39 dispatch fee.
Frosh said customers who didn't want to purchase the service plan were still charged the dispatch fee and were charged “significantly more” than the $99 advertised price to clear drains.
"Truth-in-advertising laws are designed to protect consumers from misleading promotions," Frosh said. "Marylanders should not have to pay more for a product or service than its advertised price."
Under the settlement, the business will pay restitution to customers who paid more than $99 to have their drains unclogged, including those who purchased the service agreements and paid dispatch fees.
Larry and Sons faces up to $75,000 in penalties, which could go down if it fully complies with terms of the settlement, and $7,500 in court costs to the Maryland Office of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.