Corbett settles with N.Y. company

Keith Loria Oct. 15, 2010, 11:22am


HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) - Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett announced on Wednesday that his office has reached a $175,000 settlement with a New York-based dental company that allegedly engaged in misleading advertisements and promotions.

Corbett alleged that East Syracuse-based Aspen Dental used confusing or misleading information about discounts, coupons, free denture consultations, interest-free financing and free initial exams in an effort to attract patients, but customers often learned they weren't getting what was promised. More than 50 complaints about the practice were filed with Corbett's office.

"Consumers went to Aspen Dental because they believed they could obtain low-cost solutions to their dental problems, only to be faced with confusing limitations and restrictions on coupons and other promotions, or undisclosed details about financing," Corbett said.

When Aspen learned of the charges in May 2009, it cooperated with Corbett's office and began making changes to its policies.

Under terms of the assurance of voluntary compliance agreement, Aspen will return $125,000 to consumers who have claims of products or services that were purchased on or before May 28, 2009.

Aspen must also provide all consumers with a copy of their treatment and financing plan, including an itemized list of all services and fees, disclosure of any cancellation fees, terms of any guarantees or warranties, the total amount due, estimated monthly payments and annual interest rates.

The settlement also requires the company to pay $50,039 in costs, which will be used to support future consumer protection activities by Corbett's office.

Aspen must provide clear and conspicuous statements in all future advertisements and promotions detailing all limitation or special qualifications.

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