October 13, 2010
Attorney General Corbett announces $175,000 consumer settlement with Aspen Dental
HARRISBURG ? Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that the Attorney General?s Health Care Section has reached a $175,000 consumer settlement with Aspen Dental ? a New York-based dental business accused of using confusing or misleading information about discounts, coupons, free denture consultations, interest-free financing, free initial exams and other advertisements and promotions.
Corbett said an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) was reached with Aspen Dental Management Inc, doing business as Aspen Dental, of East Syracuse, NY. Aspen Dental provides management services, equipment and support services to 32 independently owned dental facilities across Pennsylvania, including locations in Allentown, Altoona, Erie, Harrisburg, Johnstown, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Reading, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and York.
Corbett said the Attorney General?s Office received more than 50 complaints from consumers regarding Aspen Dental business practices.
?Consumers went to Aspen Dental because they believed they could obtain low-cost solutions to their dental problems, only to be faced with confusing limitations and restrictions on coupons and other promotions, or undisclosed details about financing,? Corbett said.
According to the terms of the settlement, Aspen Dental will pay $125,000 in restitution to consumers who have had valid claims involving products or services that were purchased on or before May 28, 2009.
Corbett noted that Aspen Dental has cooperated with the Attorney General?s investigation and implemented changes in its policies in May 2009 based on concerns raised by the Health Care Section.
Consumers who have already filed complaints with the Attorney General?s Office concerning Aspen Dental are not required to take any additional action.
Consumers who have not yet contacted the Attorney General?s Health Care Section about complaints involving Aspen Dental should file formal complaints before November 12th, 2010.
Complaints can be filed by calling the Attorney General?s Health Care Hotline at 1-877-888-4877 or by submitting an online Health Care Complaint Form.
Corbett said the AVC also requires Aspen Dental to provide all consumers with a copy of their treatment and financing plan, including an itemized list of all services and fees, disclosure of any cancellation fees, terms of any guarantees or warranties, the total amount due, estimated monthly payments and annual interest rate. Aspen Dental must also place clear and conspicuous statements in all future advertisements and promotions, explaining any limitation or special qualifications.
Additionally, the settlement requires Aspen Dental to pay $50,039 in costs, which will be used to support future consumer protection activities by the Attorney General?s Office.
The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance was filed in Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas by Deputy Attorney General Timothy E. Gates of the Attorney General?s Health Care Section.
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