Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – The Attorney General’s office, led by Josh Shapiro, has recently taken legal action against Curtis Total Service, Inc., company manager Richard Price, and HVAC field supervisor Matthew Price. The lawsuit, filed in the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas, alleges that Curtis Total Service engaged in misleading sales practices, targeting unsuspecting consumers, including elderly individuals living alone. The company is accused of using deceptive tactics to persuade consumers into purchasing unnecessary home improvements, often involving costly HVAC systems.
Attorney General Shapiro expressed his concerns about the company’s unethical practices, stating, “Curtis Total Service flat out lied to Pennsylvanians. They misinformed consumers about their right to cancel contracts and in some instances, refused cancellation outright. They used bad information, partial information, and dirty tricks to pad their bills at the expense of older Pennsylvanians. No company, no matter how big, is allowed to violate our consumer protection laws. Try it and I’ll see you in court.”
The Deceptive Tactics Unveiled
According to the lawsuit, Curtis Total Service repeatedly recommended unnecessary and inappropriate products for consumers’ homes. Some vulnerable individuals were asked to sign incomplete invoices, which were later filled out or altered by a company employee. Consumers were misled into believing that price breakdowns were not required by law and were often denied information about their right to cancel contracts. Those who attempted to cancel their agreements faced resistance and, in some cases, threats of legal action from the company.
The company allegedly employed high-pressure sales tactics and scare tactics, preying on consumers’ health and safety concerns to coerce them into immediate purchases. Curtis Total Service insisted on commencing work right away, discouraging consumers from seeking second opinions. Additionally, some consumers were misled into believing that they were taking out a loan for home improvement services of a certain amount, only to later discover that they had unwittingly signed up for a credit card, leading to unexpected expenses.
One Consumer’s Troubling Experience
Kathy Reither of Northampton County shared her distressing experience with Curtis Total Service. She contacted the company when her furnace was malfunctioning, only to be bombarded with false claims. “Curtis Total Service made all these claims,” Kathy recounted. “All these things that were wrong with my furnace, that if he even tried to clean my furnace, it was going to crumble. All lies.”
Multiple Violations of Consumer Protection Laws
The lawsuit alleges that Curtis Total Service violated several consumer protection laws, including the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law and the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act. Deceptive advertising, failure to complete home improvement contracts properly, and making false statements about the financing offered were among the alleged violations.
Seeking Justice for Victims
Consumers who suspect they or their family members have fallen victim to Curtis Total Service’s deceptive practices are urged to file a complaint with the Bureau of Consumer Protection. Reports can be submitted online, via email at [email protected], or by calling 800-441-2555. The Attorney General’s office encourages individuals to check with elderly family members if they had any negative experiences with Curtis Total Service and report such complaints to the Bureau. Contractors with information about the company’s business practices are also encouraged to come forward.
Deputy Attorneys General Melissa Kaplan and Shawn Bachman are leading the case in the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas.
As the legal proceedings unfold, the hope is that justice will be served for the victims, and companies engaging in deceptive practices will be held accountable for their actions. The pursuit of fair and ethical business practices remains a top priority for the Attorney General’s office.