Ariz. AG, air conditioner repair company reach agreement

Bryan Cohen Apr. 26, 2012, 6:00pm


PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced a consent agreement on Wednesday with a home heating and air conditioning repair company that allegedly engaged in numerous violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.

American Residential Services LLC allegedly used false, deceptive and misleading sales tactics involving older consumers. The company operates under multiple names and operates other companies in Yavapai, Cochise, Maricopa and Pima counties. The other companies include Russet Services, Goettl Air Conditioning, ARS Rescue Rooter and ARS.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company must make substantial and significant changes to the way it conducts business.

"I am very pleased that this company has agreed to this judgment," Horne said. "Millions of people in Arizona rely heavily on HVAC companies to provide essential services to consumers.

"Those companies must operate with integrity and professionalism. This agreement ensures that American Residential Services will make the necessary changes to ensure they are doing that."

The judgment requires Russet Services, Goettl Air Conditioning, ARS Rescue Rooter and American Residential Services to change their business practices in multiple ways. The companies must give consumers written contracts of the equipment and services they are selling and have consumers sign the contracts prior to any sale or work, have a written policy prohibiting the use of financial incentives to motivate employees to engage in improper marketing or promotion, and ensure that any implication or statement of safety concerns that would necessitate the immediate replacement of a plumbing or HVAC system be true in the opinion of a company technician.

In addition, the companies must advertise in a truthful, prominent, clear and non-misleading manner without disclaimers contradicting any information in the advertisement, make truthful representations about membership in, or affiliation with, any trade or professional organization such as the Better Business Bureau, discontinue the dissemination of any advertising that represents that the advertisement is an official governmental notice, and pay Horne's office $240,000 for consumer restitution and $155,000 for attorney's fees.

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