Window sales scheme shut down by Washington AG

Nick Rees Sep. 18, 2009, 12:27am

SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) - The Washington attorney general's office has announced a settlement with a Seattle-based window installer over alleged deceptive sales practices and scare tactics.

Evans Glass was alleged to have convinced consumers that they were receiving a bargain on services and informed them that sales reps were going to perform a free home energy audit.

For the energy audit, the Evans Glass sales reps wore tool belts and used high-pressure sales pitches that lasted for as much as four hours to sell windows. The states complaint also alleges that the price of the windows in question was misrepresented, with consumers told that the windows were being sold at a special reduced price from a much higher price.

"The law is as clear as glass: If you intend to sell windows you can't get your foot in the door by telling consumers you're going to do something else and you can't make up discounts and rebates to trick consumers into thinking they are getting a deal," Assistant Attorney General Jack Zurlini said.

The complaint filed against Evans Glass also alleges that fraudulent endorsements were used, including informing customers that the company had some form of partnership with local governments and organizations. The complaint also alleges that Evans Glass used forged letters to give the appearance that a glass manufacturer had chosen the business as part of an energy efficiency study based on the quality of its products and services.

Evans Glass is also accused in the complaint of employing scare tactics to suggest that the home inspection found deady mold, no matter what type or amount of mold was found.

In advertisements, Evans Glass stated that homeowners could save 40 percent on their monthly heating and air conditioning bills despite no reliable scientific evidence existing to substantiate the claim.

Civil penalties in the amount of $25,000 were suspended against Evans Glass provided that it abides by consumer protection laws in the future. Evans Glass, which denied any wrongdoing as part of the settlement but agreed to restrictions on its marketing tactics, will also pay $60,000 in attorneys' fees and legal costs.

As a result of this suit, the Consumer Protection Division of the attorney generals' office has begun investigating other window and home siding installation businesses over similar allegations of inflated prices, nonexistent discounts and high-pressure pitches.

More News