Turbine company to pay restitution to customers

Nick Rees Oct. 14, 2008, 11:52am

Martha Coakley (D)

FALL RIVER, Mass. (Legal NewsLine) -- A Massachusetts wind turbine company accused of making false and misleading representations about their products will have to pay restitution to consumers who were mislead.

In a complaint filed against Mark Howland of East Freetown, Mass., and his company, WindTech-Co, the Massachusetts attorney general's office alleges that consumers were told the turbines would generate more power than they actually would. The company also failed to tell consumers that local permits were needed for turbine installations.

Of the turbines that Howland installed without being halted by building inspectors for violating zoning laws, most were installed in an unsafe and ineffective manner and failed to meet specifications set forth by the manufacturer.

Howland also allegedly told consumers that the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative would automatically reimburse a significant portion of the turbine system purchase. Howland's company exceeded the cap amount for reimbursement that a single contractor could seek, disqualifying some consumers from a reimbursement.

In a consent judgment against Howland and his company, he will have to repay $488,000 in restitution within one year. If the payment is not done within a year, Howland will be responsible for a $638,000 payment.

Howland is also permanently prohibited from being involved with a business in the sale and installation of alternative energy systems, specifically wind turbine and hybrid wind turbine/photo-volatic systems.

"This settlement will help ensure that consumers need not fear for their safety or that they are being taken advantage of as a result of contributing to environmentally-sound solutions," Attorney General Martha Coakley said.

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