Illinois files suit against security company for deceptive sales practices‏

Nick Rees Oct. 27, 2009, 3:10pm

Lisa Madigan (D)

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois' Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit against a security company that allegedly used deceptive sales tactics that often left customers stuck in two separate sales contracts.

Madigan's suit against Pinnacle Security LLC, filed in Vermilion County Circuit Court, alleges that the Orem, Utah-based company used a door-to-door sales force that targeted customers of other, rival home security services.

"Our investigation revealed that Pinnacle Security's sales teams have purposely deceived consumers to make a sale," Madigan said. "Many Illinois homeowners who signed up for these products and services based on the company's false claims are now stuck paying for services that they did not need. In a difficult economic climate when every dollar counts, this is especially maddening."

The door-to-door sales teams employed false or misleading statements to convince Illinois consumers that Pinnacle either had secured strategic partnerships with rival firms such asADT or told them that ADT had gone bankrupt and Pinnacle would be servicing ADT customers as a result.

As a result of Pinnacle's sales team's misrepresentations, consumers would be convinced to sign a new contract with Pinnacle. The sales force is also alleged, in some cases, to have misrepresented that consumers would not be charged an installation fee and that the consumers' monthly service charge would range from a promotional rate of $21.99 and $39.

Madigan's lawsuit alleges that the company's fee structure was misrepresented with consumers billed an installation fee of $99 and an inflated $49 monthly charge for a 38-month contract.

Once consumers under contract found out that ADT was still in business and had no business relationships with Pinnacle, Pinnacle allegedly refused to allow contracts to be canceled. Consumers were then left liable to pay both their original home security contract and their new contract with Pinnacle.

The lawsuit against Pinnacle charges the company with violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. The lawsuit also asks the court for civil penalties of $50,000 as well as an additional $50,000 penalty for each violation committed with the intent to defraud and a $10,000 penalty for each violation committed against a senior citizen 65 years of age or older.

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