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August 30, 2005

Miller Sues Door-To-Door Salesman

Suit alleges Clive company uses deceptive tactics to gain access to consumer households and fails to provide refunds under the Iowa Door-to-Door Sales Act.

[Click here for updates as of December 14, 2005: "Court Orders Seller of $2,000 Vacuum Cleaners to Clean Up Its Act" ]

DES MOINES. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller filed a consumer fraud lawsuit today against Carlson Technologies, Inc. and its owner and president, Roger T. Carlson. Carlson Technologies, Inc. uses door-to-door sales to sell home care products, including Tri-Star brand vacuum cleaners listed for up to $2,000 a unit.

The lawsuit described numerous complaints from Iowa consumers alleging that agents of Carlson and Carlson Technologies, Inc. had, among other things, used deceptive means to gain access to consumers' homes for sales presentations, failed to provide refunds after consumers cancelled sales under Iowa's Door-to-Door Sales Act, and failed to provide a "prize", as promised, within 30 days as required by the Iowa Prize Promotions Act.

"We allege that agents of Carlson Technologies, Inc. and Roger T. Carlson used a combination of misleading and unfair business tactics to sell their products," Miller said. "For example, we allege that defendants misled consumers by calling and telling a consumer that the consumer had won a voucher for a free hotel stay that the defendants would deliver to the consumer's home. We allege this claim was just a ruse to get defendants' sales staff into the consumer's home for a sales presentation in that every consumer called is told they are the winners of the voucher. We also allege that the defendants failed to disclose limitations on obtaining the voucher, and that they sometimes failed to provide the voucher to consumers."

Carlson Technologies, Inc. and Carlson had resolved earlier disputes with the Attorney General's Office by signing an agreement called an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance which was to prevent future violations. However, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants breached that agreement by failing to respond to consumer complaints in a timely manner, failing to make required disclosures upon first contact with consumers, and by failing to follow Iowa's Door-to-Door Sales Act.

"Our suit asks the court to halt the unfair and deceptive practices, assess civil penalties, and provide appropriate reimbursement for consumers," Miller said.

The suit was filed Tuesday in Polk County District Court in Des Moines.

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