State Attorney General Greg Abbot says his office has received more than two-thousand complaints from people who made major purchases at Conns.
“They feel that they have been conned by Conn’s.”
Abbot has filed a lawsuit seeking civil penalties and a court order to stop Conn’s from breaking the law. Here’s Abbot talking about one of the complaints:
“Soon after some customers would purchase products from Con’s the product would break down or become defective. And Cons would be unable to repair the product. Yet, Con’s would not accept a return of the product for refund or exchange, claiming that the time period for doing so had expired.”
One of the charges is that Conn’s would pressure people to buy warranties only to be given the run around when the product would break down.
“An active duty military man and his family in Arlington Texas purchased a washing machine with a four-year extended warranty from Conn’s shortly before Christmas 2008. The machine was defective upon delivery and cons technicians could not repair it, but they falsely reported back to Conn’s that the machine had been repaired.”
Abbot says six weeks later that the serviceman had to return to duty leaving his family with no washing machine.
Conn’s says it’s been working with the state for the past three months to resolve the concerns. But Abbot believes some of the practices are pushed by upper level management. Like not replacing appliances under warranty but instead of trying to repair them over and over.
“By doing these repairs repeatedly, Conns is getting paid by the warranty companies for doing repairs. Whereas, if they replace the product that would be money out of Conns pocket. So they have a financial incentive to drag out the process and in the meantime get paid for it.”
The attorney general is asking for penalties of up to 20-thousand dollars per violation. They don’t know how many violations there are at this point, but they’re asking anyone who thinks they’ve been treated wrongly by Conn’s to report it to his office.
Bill Stamps, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.