Bryan Cohen Sep. 6, 2013, 7:04pm

INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced a lawsuit Thursday against an Indianapolis-based tree service company that allegedly took $7,500 from a senior homeowner and provided faulty work.

Spaulding's Tree Experts and Steve Spaulding, the company's owner, allegedly violated the newly enacted Senior Consumer Protection Act by convincing the 93-year-old to sign a $6,000 contract. Six days earlier, the consumer and his daughter allegedly declined tree trimming services from the company after being solicited at their home. The company allegedly returned and signed the contract with the homeowner, who suffers from dementia.

The Senior Consumer Protection Act stiffens civil penalties against individuals or companies found guilty of financially exploiting Hoosiers 60 years old or above.

"Indiana's new statute closed a loophole to address the situation where a senior was intimidated or coerced into turning over their property or paying for a service," Zoeller said. "This lawsuit is an example of why our state law needed to be strengthened and how seniors are often targeted because of their vulnerability and financial resources."

After receiving $7,500 from the consumer, Spaulding's Tree Experts allegedly trimmed a few branches and used incorrect methods and materials. The company allegedly filled a cavity in one of the trees with spray insulation foam and covered the area with black spray paint.

The lawsuit alleges that Spaulding's Tree Experts violated the Senior Consumer Protection Act, Home Solicitation Sales Act, Home Improvements Contract Act and the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.


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