Friday, December 13, 2013

Air Conditioning Company Caught Scamming Customers

Alleged Abuse Of Seniors And Scamming For Unneeded Repairs

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has obtained an order granting a temporary injunction and asset freeze against Service Star Enterprise Inc., a Fort Myers-based air conditioning company, and its owners, Salvatore Tavolacci Jr. and Darrielle Tavolacci. 

According to a state investigation, Service Star often made unnecessary and excessive repairs, used intimidating sales practices, failed to honor requests for cancellation, used contracts that do not comply with Florida law, and in some cases demanded payment in cash from senior citizens. 

The judge's order for the injuction temporarily prohibits the defendants from engaging in air conditioning repair, requires them to preserve computer files and financial statements, and prohibits them from hiding or disposing of assets that could be used to repay affected consumers.

According to complaints received by the Attorney General’s Office, Service Star:
· Employed technicians who falsely claimed that air conditioning units needed repair or replacement when they were working correctly;
· Falsely claimed the business only accepted cash for payment;
· Failed to obtain required permits before starting work; and
· Failed to provide goods and services paid for by consumers.

Additionally, the Judge found sufficient evidence that technicians coerced senior citizens into paying cash for excessive and unnecessary repairs and replacements of their air conditioning units. The Court noted that in some cases, technicians drove elderly customers to the bank, or berated them on the cell phone in an attempt to compel them to withdraw thousands of dollars to pay for services.

“Abusing customers, including senior citizens, who trust you with their money to do an honest job is deplorable,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “My office will go after any company that is scamming money from customers and violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.”

The State's court complaint:$file/FinalComplaintServiceStar.pdf

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