Pa. AG settles with locksmith after alleging fictitious names

Bryan Cohen Dec. 12, 2011, 9:41am


HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) - Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly announced on Monday that she has reached a $110,000 settlement with a Philadelphia-area locksmith that allegedly used fictitious business names to mislead customers.

The consent decree with the Abington-based Always In Service Inc. resolves an October 2010 lawsuit. The company allegedly used hundreds of different fictitious business names to mislead consumers throughout the state that they were dealing with a local business. It also allegedly provided inaccurate estimates and performed shoddy work.

The settlement and lawsuit also involve Guy Halperin, the company's former president and owner, Yuvall Attoun, its former treasurer and owner, and Refael Mohar, the company's current owner, president, treasurer and secretary. Attoun and Halperin divested themselves of their partial ownership of the business in April.

Always in Service allegedly used more than a dozen different fictitious business names and advertised in local telephone directories using hundreds of different name headings, including "Phoenixville's Premier Locksmith" and "Pottstown Garage Doors," combined with the use of more than 300 different local telephone numbers to make it appear that the business was local. The company allegedly used three websites that also included various false advertisements to offer its locksmith services, along with the repair and installation of security systems, garage doors, windows and doors throughout the state.

In addition, the company allegedly made numerous deceptive or false claims in its advertisements, such as the use of "certified master locksmiths," that they were bonded when they were not, that the business was a "leading service company in many fields" and was accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and that the business was "family owned and operated."

"These activities, including the bogus business names with the use of local telephone numbers, and exaggerated claims, were allegedly intended to confuse or mislead consumers, leading potential customers to believe that they were dealing with a local business that was highly regarded and well qualified to handle their projects," Kelly said.

"The defendants also performed home improvement services, such as installation of doors, windows and garage doors, without registering with the attorney general's BCP and failed to properly notify consumers about their three-day right to cancel home improvement contracts."

Multiple consumers alleged that the work performed was shoddy and that the final price far surpassed the price they were quoted over the phone.

Under the terms of the agreement, the business must stop using 13 different fictitious business names, including A1 Best Locksmith Inc., Best Buy Doors and Windows, Gold Garage Doors, Locksmith King of Prussia, AAA Locksmith USA, AAA 24 Hour Local Emergency Locksmith Service, AAA 24/7 Emergency Locksmith, AAA ASAP All Day & Night Local Emergency Locksmith, SOS Master Locksmith, McDowell & Sons Locksmith, and Locks ABC.

Always in Service is also prohibited from making any deceptive claims about being a local business and must include the address of its Abington location in all Internet or print advertisements or websites.

More News