Swanson files pair of suits

Keith Loria May 12, 2010, 4:16pm


ST. PAUL, Minn. (Legal Newsline) - Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed two separate lawsuits Wednesday against two companies that allegedly deceived seniors into purchasing unnecessary home and medical safety products.

Swanson's lawsuits name AMP Alarm LLC of Utah and EMT Medical, Inc., of Arizona.

Both companies allegedly used aggressive door-to-door salespeople and telemarketers to trick and scare seniors in Minnesota into purchasing home security alarm and medical safety products.

"Senior citizens often fear for their personal safety at home or their medical safety in an emergency," Swanson said.

"Some companies exploit these safety concerns by using high-pressure sales tactics to deceptively peddle costly products over the phone or at people's doorsteps. It is not rude or impolite to close the door or hang up the phone on these high-pressure sales pitches."

In the lawsuit against AMP Alarm, Swanson alleges that the company sold home security alarms and related long-term alarm monitoring agreements to seniors on fixed incomes who couldn't afford the fees.

The lawsuit further alleges that customers often were not notified of the disclosures required under the Minnesota Personal Solicitation of Sales Act by the salespeople, which are required by law. It is also believed that many "bait and switch" tactics were used.

Minnesota law requires all salespeople making unsolicited pitches at consumers' doors to provide their name, business represented, product being sold, the fact they are trying to sell a product and written identification before beginning any sale.

AMP is accused of falsely representing themselves and failing to meet the requirements under the law.

In the lawsuit filed against EMT Medical, Swanson alleges that the company unscrupulously sold emergency medical safety products for $398, which the company allegedly told citizens' would allow medical information to be immediately accessed by first responders in an emergency.

The product was actually an online medical storage product, but seniors were apparently frightened into the sales with alarming statistics reported by the salespeople, Swanson said.

The two lawsuits, filed in Hennepin County District Court, seek injunctive relief, restitution and civil penalties.

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