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June 10, 2019

Consumers to get refunds over security-alarm sales

Safe Home sends notices to about 200 consumers in Quad Cities, elsewhere

DES MOINES — About 200 Iowans who purchased security systems are eligible for refunds and cancellations as part of an agreement between the Iowa Attorney General and Safe Home Security.

Most of the consumers are in the Quad Cities area, primarily Davenport. Safe Home, a Connecticut company, planned to send the letters to consumers Monday informing them of the option to cancel. Consumers must send a response postmarked by June 25 to participate.

Safe Home had acquired security-alarm contracts sold by independent door-to-door salesmen doing business as “Brothers Alarm.” The AG’s office alleged that those salespeople had used deceptive sales tactics and has since banned them from selling door-to-door goods in Iowa.

Safe Home improperly assessed early cancellation fees against Iowans who tried to cancel the contracts, according to the allegations in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance.

“Safe Home should have taken more serious steps to ensure contracts were legally executed pursuant to Iowa consumer protection laws,” the agreement alleges.

Safe Home denies the Attorney General’s allegations but agreed to resolve the dispute by agreeing to the AVC.

Under the agreement, any Iowa customer can cancel the service without penalty and receive a full refund if they installed the service between July 2017 and July 2018 and either complained to the AG’s office or unsuccessfully attempted to cancel their contracts with Safe Home. Consumers not eligible for total refund will be eligible for a free cancellation.

Safe Home Security also agreed to pay $2,500 to the state.

In March, the Attorney General’s Office banned the salesmen — Brad “Bubba” Harvey, Larry Harvey and Ryan Harvey — who had sold the security-alarm services.

The Attorney General’s office accused the Harvey brothers of violating the Iowa Consumer Fraud Law and the Door-to-Door Sales Act by using deceptive sales tactics, such as lying about recent crimes in the area to persuade Iowans to purchase a security system. The Harveys were also accused of misleading consumers about the terms of the contracts and their rights to cancel.

The Harvey brothers, who are based out of state, must permanently refrain from any business involving selling merchandise or door-to-door solicitations in Iowa as part of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance. The Harveys denied the accusations.

Know your rights with door-to-door sales

The Iowa Door-to-Door Sales Act applies if a sale is for more than $25, if the sale is made at a location other than the seller's place of business, and if the goods or services will be used for personal, family or household purposes. Under the Act, Iowa consumers must be given written and oral notice that they have three business days to cancel a purchase, and they must be told the procedure for cancellation.

“Iowa’s door-to-door sales laws protect Iowa consumers, and we expect all sellers to fully comply with the law,” Attorney General Tom Miller said.

Iowans with complaints about door-to-door sales practices or any consumer complaint should contact the Consumer Protection Division at 515-281-5926, or outside of the Des Moines area at 1-888-777-4590.  Consumers can obtain more information or file an online complaint at: www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov.  Consumers can also e-mail the Consumer Protection Division directly at consumer@ag.iowa.gov.

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