Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the filing of an agreement with a Colorado firm that sells adjustable beds. The agreement resolves allegations that Success Marketing, Inc., doing business as Craftmatic Beds, advertised misleading reasons for price reductions, made false health claims and took unfair advantage of at least two elderly customers. Myers filed the agreement, known as an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC), in Marion County Circuit Court. Under Oregon law, an AVC is not an admission of a violation of law.
"Consumers are at a disadvantage when it comes to in-home sales of items, such as beds, that cannot be demonstrated or tested," Myers said. "Oregonians, especially older residents, should be extremely careful when buying goods sight unseen and always have someone with them when listening to a sales pitch in their home."
Department of Justice (DOJ) investigators collected evidence that salespersons for the company allegedly lied to consumers about the reason for price reductions and made claims that consumers interpreted to be assertions that beds would improve a person's health. Investigators also received allegations that in at least two instances salespersons for the company applied high pressure sales tactics to seniors. In 2005, DOJ had issued a warning to the company after receiving a complaint about Success Marketing's use of such tactics with an elderly customer.
The AVC forbids Success Marketing from making medical claims not substantiated by expert evidence or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Success Marketing employees must advise consumers both orally and in writing of their rights before signing a contract to purchase and again when a bed is delivered. Under the agreement, employees must also give advance notice of the delivery date and time to permit the consumer to arrange for another person to be present at the delivery. After the bed is delivered and assembled, the consumer will have at least 20 minutes to examine and try out the bed and if not satisfied, may cancel the deal.
In addition, the AVC requires the company to extend a five day cooling-off period for in-home sales of the company's beds. During this period, consumers may cancel the transaction. Saturdays and Sundays do not count in calculating the length of the cooling-off period. The AVC requires the company to distribute a copy of the AVC to its officers and employees and to conduct additional training for its salespersons. The training must emphasize respect for the rights of vulnerable elderly Oregonians.
Success Marketing paid approximately $5,000 in restitution to consumers. It also paid $7,500 to the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Protection and Education Fund.
Consumers wanting more information about consumer protection in general 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. The Department of Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Stephanie Soden, (503) 378-6002
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org