Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the filing of court actions in Jackson and Josephine counties against two Southern Oregon companies that mostly marketed to older consumers promising goods and services that were either never received or were exaggerated and misleading.
Named in Assurances of Voluntary Compliance are Christopher S. and Pamela M. Geye of Grants Pass and their business Senior Solutions, LLP and Teri L. and John E. Goodson of White City, doing business as Teri's Tours and Desert Rose Charter Bus Company. The agreements admit no violation of law.
"Marketing a product or service to seniors and then not providing it won't be tolerated in Oregon," Myers said. "Our ever-increasing senior population must be protected from unlawful activity in the marketplace."
In investigating 19 complaints against Teri's Tours, Department of Justice investigators found that the Goodsons repeatedly had scheduled tour packages, took advance payments and then either cancelled or changed the tour dates. Consumers requesting refunds were ignored until they filled complaints with Justice.
Under their Assurance, the Goodsons have 90 days to provide restitution totaling $12,644 to five consumers who filed complaints with Justice concerning cancelled trips. They also must refund all outstanding balances to consumers who have requested refunds relating to prepaid tours that were not provided. The Goodsons paid Justice $2,000 for the Consumer Protection and Education Fund and agreed to permanently stop doing business as travel agents and tour organizers. However, Justice allowed the Goodsons to continue to run a bus chartering service.
In March 2002, Justice received an advertisement for a "senior financial survival workshop" being held in the Grants Pass area by insurance salespersons Christopher and Pamela. On the flyer, the Geyes titled themselves as "certified elder planning specialists" and "certified pension distribution specialists" when in fact the Geyes either overstated or misstated the certificates they do have.
Justice investigators found that the Geyes had taken a few hours of training from various "schools" offering quick diplomas or certificates. These courses were designed by Tyrone Clark of Denver, Colorado. Although the flyer claimed both the Geyes held both titles, only Pamela Geye has a certificate as an Elder Planning Specialist, which is a 36-hour home study course from Clark's Institute in Colorado.
The Geyes also claimed to be Certified Pension Distribution Specialists. Clark's various schools do not offer such a certificate and Justice could not find any other schools that offered a CPD certificate.
"Oregonians taking educational seminars with the instructors touting impressive sounding certifications must realize that not only could the titles be totally bogus but it is possible that the title holder did virtually nothing to get the certification," Myers said.
Under the agreement, the Geyes paid Justice $750 for its Consumer Protection and Education Fund and agreed to not violate the Unlawful Trade Practices Act.
Consumers wanting information on consumer protection in Oregon may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org