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May 26, 2010
Attorney General orders another window seller to be transparent in its marketing

Office reaches settlement with Tacoma-based West Coast Vinyl

SEATTLE – The Washington Attorney General’s Office continued its efforts to clear up alleged deceptive marketing practices among window selling businesses by reaching a settlement this week with West Coast Vinyl, of Tacoma.

“We’ve reached settlements with West Coast Vinyl and three other window retailers this year as part of our continuing efforts to makeover industry marketing practices that we feel violate consumer protection laws,” said Assistant Attorney General Jack Zurlini, of the office’s Consumer Protection Division.

In its complaint, the Attorney General’s Office accused West Coast Vinyl of misrepresenting the price and quality of its windows, making false claims about the energy savings customers would achieve, failing to inform customers of their cancellation rights and providing misleading information to collect customer leads. Those practices violate the state’s Consumer Protection Act, the Attorney General’s Office alleged.

West Coast Vinyl denied any wrongdoing as part of the settlement filed in Pierce County Superior Court but agreed to restrictions on its marketing tactics.

The state’s complaint accused West Coast Vinyl of misidentifying its sales representatives as “energy consultants,” for example, and misrepresenting to potential customers that the company is currently installing windows in their neighborhood.

The state’s complaint says West Coast Vinyl’s claims that its windows would save homeowners at least 40 percent on their monthly heating and cooling bills are false and that the company had no reasonable basis to support them. The Attorney General’s Office alleged that company representatives said West Coast Vinyl installs windows itself, when the company hires subcontractors to handle about half of its jobs.

The Attorney General’s Office agreed to suspend $25,000 in civil penalties provided West Coast Vinyl abides with consumer protection laws in the future. The company will pay approximately $40,500 in attorneys’ fees and legal costs.

The office reached similar settlements with Harley Exteriors, Penguin Windows and Evans Glass. In addition, its Consumer Protection Division sent letters to more than 30 window and home siding installation businesses last fall, as part of an effort to educate them about high-pressure pitches, inflated prices and fraudulent endorsements that are illegal and have the potential to damage the industry’s reputation.

West Coast Vinyl Complaint 

West Coast Vinyl Consent Decree


Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager – Seattle, (206) 464-6432, kalexander@atg.wa.gov

 

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