Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive
Tuesday, April 3, 2001
CORNYN SUES RIO GRANDE VALLEY BUSINESS FOR DOOR-TO-DOOR SALES SCHEME
AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced a lawsuit against Perfect Water Solutions, Inc., a McAllen-based business that sold expensive residential water filtration systems in the Rio Grande Valley.
In the lawsuit, Cornyn alleges that while the sales pitches were conducted in Spanish, all of the documentation, including required disclosures, were made in English. Consumers were not properly notified of their right to cancel the purchases and receive refunds if they changed their minds within three business days, which is in violation of the Texas Home Solicitation Act. The company also misrepresented to consumers the terms of the financing agreements. Consumers unwittingly applied for revolving credit accounts which resulted in much higher payments over a longer period of time than the salespeople had promised.
"Far from improving people's quality of life through its products, Perfect Water Solutions was in the business of separating consumers from their hard-earned dollars and offering little in return," said Attorney General Cornyn. "We will not stand for this type of fraudulent behavior."
Among other things, the lawsuit requests that all contracts signed by clients be voided if it is determined by the court that Perfect Water Solutions violated the Home Solicitation Act or the Deceptive Trade Practices Act when it entered into such agreements.
In their complaints, consumers indicated that the systems cost considerably more than they were originally led to believe. Sellers told clients that the units would cost about $5,000 each, and that by paying $100 a month, consumers could pay off the debt in about four or five years. The implication was that the $5,000 price tag included interest. However, buyers were not told that interest would in fact be added to this amount, and that making the required monthly minimum payment would extend their payments for many more years and would cost considerably more than $5,000.
Consumers also indicated that the units did not improve water quality (in fact made their water smell and taste bad) and required costly maintenance that was not disclosed at the time of the sale.
"This legal action was possible thanks to the many consumers who stepped forward and filed complaints with my Consumer Protection Division. Their voices were heard, and we took action accordingly," said Attorney General Cornyn.
The Office of the Attorney General offers numerous complaint forms and consumer publications in both Spanish and English. They are available at no charge by calling toll free at 1-800-252-8011 or through the Attorney General's Web page at www.oag.state.tx.us.
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Contact: Mark Heckmann, Tom Kelley or Jane Dees Shepperd at (512) 463-2050.
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