Cuomo settles with lawn care provider

Keith Loria Jun. 7, 2010, 3:32pm


ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that his office has settled with a nationwide lawn care provider over allegedly unlawful practices.

TruGreen Limited Partnership, headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., was accused of billing customers for unauthorized services and not responding to cancellation requests in a timely manner.

"My office received complaints that this company was not direct and forthcoming about its contracts, forcing consumers to pay for unwanted services," Cuomo said.

"TruGreen has agreed to revise its contract language and change its practices so that consumers don't get stuck in a web of misleading and deceptive statements and terms."

TruGreen provides an array of lawn care services throughout the country, including fertilization, weed control and applications of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides.

An investigation by Cuomo's office found that TruGreen often applied both pesticides and fertilizer without authorization and would bill consumers for the service. Under New York state law, a company may not apply pesticides without a signed contract.

Cuomo also says the company automatically renewed contracts and services, misleading customers into thinking the contracts would be terminated.

As part of the settlement, TruGreen must provide all contract terms in writing to their customers, including how to cancel any services. The company must also improve its complaint procedures, including canceling contracts immediately when asked and confirming this with a letter that must follow in a month's time. TruGreen also agreed to pay $55,000 in penalties, fees and costs to the state.

When first notified of the AG's investigation and complaints from consumers, TruGreen did credit the cost of pesticide applications from the consumer's account or refunded the consumer's payment.

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