Seattle -November 4, 1999- Attorney General Christine Gregoire today filed suit against Microworkz.com, a Lynnwood-based seller of computer equipment, for violating state consumer protection laws including failing to deliver computer equipment as ordered.
"This company generated lots of excitement when it offered a bare-bones, low cost personal computer," said Gregoire, "But that quickly turned sour when they failed to deliver what they promised."
The lawsuit alleges the company failed to deliver equipment, honor warranties, issue refunds and respond to consumer inquiries and complaints. Filed in King County Superior Court, the lawsuit names Richard Latman, Microworkz chairman, as a defendant. The Attorney General’s office has received 95 complaints against Microworkz this year.
Microworkz entered the computer market earlier this year when it introduced the Webzter, a computer that sold for between $400 and $600. The company followed with the iToaster, a computer that sold for $199.95 and was touted as providing basic functions such as e-mail, word processing and Internet service in the non-Windows environment. Unlimited Internet access was bundled into the sale of the iToaster.
The Attorney General’s office alleges that Microworkz continued to sell additional computers even though it was unable to keep up with the delivery of computers for which consumers had already paid hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
The company often failed to give refunds even though it promised a satisfaction policy that stated "if, for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with your Microworkz.com PC, simply return it within the first thirty days and we will give you a refund."
"Once consumers asked for a refund they were given the run-around," said Gregoire. "Consumers were told the check was being ‘processed’ or would be issued in a specified number of days. Even when consumers did get refund checks, some were returned for lack of sufficient funds."
Many consumers also purchased a three-year extended warranty that Microworkz advertised as a "must" for novices. For $100 over the purchase price, consumers buying the Webzter were promised that a Microworkz tech would come to their house and fix a malfunctioning computer. In addition, the warranty also promised to extend the 15-day technical support offered by telephone to three years
The Attorney General’s office is asking for a permanent injunction to stop Microworkz from continuing its unlawful conduct, restitution for consumers and attorneys costs and fees.
Consumers who have a complaint against Microworkz should contact the Attorney General’s Office at 800-551-4636 or 800-833-6384 for the hearing impaired.