Conn. AG settles with vacuum cleaner company

Nick Rees Jun. 6, 2011, 1:48pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and the Department of Consumer Protection announced a settlement on Monday with a vacuum cleaner company over allegedly high-pressure sales tactics.

The assurances of voluntary compliance with The Kirby Company and its Connecticut distributors settle allegations that the company and its representatives engaged in aggressive, high pressure sales tactics. Under terms of the settlement, the company agreed to educate its distributors on more appropriate sales practice methods.

Kirby will educate its distributors routinely on the importance of complying with Connecticut laws involving telemarketing, home solicitation and the federal Do Not Call List. Distributors will also be instructed to not engage in "high pressure" sales tactics, to review with each customer the consumer's three-day right to cancel, to fully and conspicuously disclose material financing terms and to adhere to similar fair marketing policies.

In addition, Kirby will require that its distributors provide each potential customer with the name and address of the distributor and the name of the salesperson contacting the customer. The salespersons will be required to get signed permission from the potential customer and provide a copy of that permission to the customer before beginning any in-home sales demonstration of its products.

The sales demonstrations that occur in a customer's home must be completed within 90 minutes hours unless the customer specifically asks for more time in writing. The customer may terminate the demonstration at any time.

"I am hopeful these agreements will ensure that the type of complaints consumers made to my office about Kirby's distributor's practices are a thing of the past," Jepsen said. "We will remain vigilant to make sure that consumers are protected from high pressure tactics, and given necessary and accurate information by these companies."

Kirby distributors have also signed individual agreements that require them to adhere to the new policies, which include but are not limited to facing disciplinary action or termination from the company. The Kirby Company also paid the state of Connecticut $25,000.

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