Settlement Reached With Cleaning Company That Misrepresented Environmental Fee

Attorney General Spitzer announced today an agreement with an upstate cleaning service that required consumers to pay additional fees to cover illusory environmental costs.

Coit Drapery and Carpet Cleaners, owned by Doro's Dry Cleaning Co., Inc. - which is headquartered in Buffalo and operates in Western New York, Rochester, Central New York and the Capital Region - settled allegations that it had engaged in deceptive business practices by charging "environmental fees" that bore no relation to any cost incurred by the company for its carpet cleaning service.

"This company played on the conscience of environmentally-responsible consumers by falsely implying that certain fees went towards protecting the environment," Spitzer said. "This settlement vindicates the rights of consumers to receive clear and non-misleading information from which to make good purchasing decisions."

Coit Cleaners provides various cleaning services for carpets, draperies, air ducts, tile and grout, upholstery, area rugs and hardwood floors. In the practice at issue, the firm would assess a $10 "environmental fee" for all carpet cleaning services, even though it acknowledged to Spitzer's office that this charge did not offset any single cost related to carpet cleaning.

In settling the case, Coit Cleaners agreed to cease charging a separate "environmental fee" when the fee is intended to offset overall business costs unrelated to the service.

In addition, Coit Cleaners paid $10,000 to cover the costs of the Attorney General's investigation.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney Judith Malkin of the Syracuse Regional Office under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General In Charge Winthrop Thurlow.