Connecticut Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr. has completed his investigation into Kirby Vacuum high pressure sales techniques in this state and has asked the state Attorney General to take legal action.
“The Department of Consumer Protection is seeking a legal remedy and resolution that gives consumers adequate protection from the unfair sales practices of The Kirby Company and its affiliates, as alleged in consumer complaints in the past two years,” Farrell said.
“We allege that the Kirby and Scott Fetzer Companies, along with their distributors in Connecticut, have engaged in aggressive, high pressure and even unethical sales tactics, including in-home sales calls where sales representatives refuse to leave consumers’ homes, phone calls to consumers in violation of the state’s Telemarketing Act, selling used vacuum cleaners as new, targeting and preying on older residents. We also have numerous claims of consumers’ carpets that have been damaged during a sales call. We believe it’s time for a clean sweep of their business policies and practices,” he said.
As a consumer columnist I also have received many complaints from consumers targeted by Kirby salesmen, especially seniors. Some Kirby salesmen have also complained that they were taken advantage of by the franchise owners who promised them unrealistic compensation.
One complaint that I received was from an elderly Torrington woman who was sold one of the 25 pound vacuums despite the fact she could not move it up the stairs.
Farrell is also targeting United Consumer Financial Services, a national sales finance company specializing in consumer retail installment sales contracts owned by the Scott Fetzer Company, allegedly failed to ensure that Kirby dealers and representatives complied with laws pertaining to home solicitation sales contracts, including giving customers notice of the three-day right to cancel their purchase contract, and returning the consumer’s copy of the original contract upon cancellation.
Farrell is asking the Attorney General’s Office to file a civil action against The Kirby Company, the Scott Fetzer Company, United Consumer Financial Services, and the following Connecticut distributors of Kirby products in order to protect consumers from the unfair, threatening and abusive business tactics alleged by consumers in their complaints.
• JMG Distribution, Inc., in Waterbury area
• RFR Enterprises, LLC, in Naugatuck area
• GP Industries of Norwich, Inc., in Taftville area
• SZ Enterprises, in Orange area
• K&M Distribution, in Rocky Hill area
• Golden Circle Distribution, Inc., in Southington area
• South Shore Distributing, in Rocky Hill area
Blumenthal’s office provided the following statement later today.
“We are continuing to review these deeply disturbing allegations to determine what legal action is warranted.”
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