Carpet Company Agrees To Reform Practices

Attorney General Spitzer today announced a settlement with a Suffolk County cleaning company that misrepresented the cost of cleaning carpets and upholstery.

The settlement will change the way that All Out Carpet Cleaning of Hicksville, Long Island advertises its service. The agreement also provides refunds to customers who were subjected to false representations of the service cost and to those customers who sustained property damage.

"My office is acting to ensure that All Out Carpet is held to its promises to consumers and competes fairly in the marketplace," Spitzer said.

Spitzer's five-month investigation began after a Centereach couple complained that All Out Carpet Cleaning falsely advertised that any room could be cleaned for $6.95 per room. When the couple responded to the advertisement, an All Out Carpet Cleaning technician performed a sample cleaning at the couple's home and then advised them that the cost to clean two rooms would be $303. After hearing the couple refuse to pay anything other than $6.95 per room, the technician dumped dirty water from the cleaning machine on the couple's carpet.

The Attorney General determined that All Out Carpet Cleaning engaged in a pattern and practice of falsely representing that it would charge only $6.95 per room to clean any rug or carpet when, in fact, less than five percent of the company's cleaning contracts were performed at that price.

Spitzer's investigation revealed that, at times, technicians disclosed the significantly higher price only after conducting a cleaning demonstration on a very visible area of the carpet - leaving a noticeably cleaner patch in the center of the floor and the consumer with little option but to accept the higher price or leave the area in an unsightly condition.

Under the settlement, All Out Carpet is barred from misrepresenting the cost of services. In addition, customers whose property has been damaged or who have paid for services in excess of the advertised cost are eligible for refunds.

All Out Carpet will pay the state $20,000 in civil penalties and $2,000 in costs to settle the case. If it is determined that the company did not fully comply with the terms of the settlement, an additional $10,000 in civil penalties will become due.

Individuals with complaints against All Out Carpet are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's consumer help line at (800) 771-7755.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Alan Berkowitz under the supervision of Denis McElligott, Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Suffolk Regional Office and Juan Merchan, Assistant Attorney General in Charge of Public Advocacy for Long Island.