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Conn. May Sue Kirby Co. for the Hard Sell on Vacuums

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By Admin on November 11, 2010 8:56 AM

The Connecticut Attorney General's office has a little clean up work to do. The office has been asked by the state Department of Consumer Protection to sue a vacuum cleaner maker and its in-state distributors. The company, Kirby Co., has been accused by the state consumer protection agency of using aggressive, hard sell tactics and unethical business practices.

One of the high-pressure tactics: sales reps refusing to leave a costumer's home, reports the New Haven Register. Other consumer protection violations include the failure to return the original contract when cancelled and a failure to inform customers of their right to cancel a contract within three days.

Jerry Farrell Jr., the state Consumer Protection Commissioner, received complaints from consumers for the last two years regarding Kirby Co. and its affiliates, the Register reports. Consumer protection agencies like the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection are often responsible for helping protect consumers. This includes accepting and investigating consumer complaints and enforcing consumer protection laws.

"We believe it’s time for a clean sweep of their business policies and practices,” Farrell told the Register. “We also have numerous claims of consumers’ carpets that have been damaged during a sales call.”

Kirby states it is ready to discuss the allegations with Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's office. The company denies all allegations, but says it too wants to clean up its sales standards. Kirby Co. spokeswoman Hallie Haniewich, says Kirby has proposed a plan to hold its distributors to a standard higher than required by Connecticut law. Haniewich said company officials were “disappointed to learn ... that despite this cooperation,” Farrell had asked Blumenthal’s office to sue Kirby and its affiliates.

Attorney General Blumenthal may also take action against Kirby affiliates United Consumer Financial Services, a national sales finance company specializing in consumer retail installment sales contracts, as well as the Scott Fetzer Co., which owns UCFS, reports the Register.

Blumenthal is still considering whether or not action against Kirby Co. by his office is necessary. In statement issued November 8, he said, “We are continuing to review these deeply disturbing allegations to determine what legal action is warranted.”

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