Attorney General Shapiro Secures Restitution for Pennsylvania Consumers in Settlement with Deceptive Pest Control Company
HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that his office has reached a $101,430 settlement with Aptive Environmental, LLC, a Utah-based pest control company with regional offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The company used deceptive business practices while engaging in door-to-door solicitation in Western Pennsylvania.
The investigation was initiated when the Borough of Franklin Park, Allegheny County reported to the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection that they had received numerous complaints from residents regarding Aptive’s business practices. Residents reported Aptive’s sales representatives were engaging in door-to-door solicitation even though they did not have the permits required by the Borough’s Peddling and Solicitation Ordinance.
“Pennsylvania consumers will no longer be pestered by this company and we’re getting them their money back,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “When a business chooses to operate in our Commonwealth, it’s on them to follow our consumer protection laws. If you believe you have been a victim of this conduct, email my Bureau of Consumer Protection at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 1-800-441-2555 so we can get you help.”
The settlement includes $57,635 in restitution for over 300 Pennsylvania consumers who were harmed by the company’s deceptive practices. Affected consumers will receive a restitution check from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the coming months.
The investigation into Aptive’s business practices revealed:
- Their sales representatives had failed to comply with the peddling and solicitation ordinances of at least two other Western Pennsylvania municipalities.
- They failed to provide several Pennsylvania consumers with copies of their service agreements or a notice of cancellation at the time of sale, as required by Pennsylvania’s Consumer Protection Law. Instead, Aptive required consumers to sign on an iPad and informed the consumer that they would receive a copy of the agreement via email.
- Consumers were not informed that they had a right to receive the agreement in hard copy and several consumers reported never receiving a copy of the agreement via email.
- They disregarded the requests of some Pennsylvania consumers to cancel their service agreements and, instead, continued to send pest control technicians to consumers’ homes to spray for pests and continued to bill these consumers for such services that the consumers explicitly indicated they did not want.
Due to these deceptive sales tactics, Pennsylvania consumers who enrolled in a one-year agreement with Aptive were often not aware that under the terms of their service agreements they would be required to repay Aptive the “discount” they were given on the initial pest control treatment if they cancelled their contract within the first year.
The settlement alleges these and other violations of Pennsylvania’s consumer protection law and permanently enjoins Aptive from violating the law. The settlement was filed in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas by Deputy Attorney General Jill Ambrose.
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