State Obtains Restraining Order Against Bronx Television Repair Service

State Attorney General Spitzer announced today that a state supreme court judge has granted a temporary restraining order enjoining the owner of a Bronx televison repair service from continuing his alleged deceptive business practices pending the outcome of a lawsuit. The Attorney General’s office filed the lawsuit against Eric Fogel, the owner of Eric’s Television Service, alleging numerous deceptive and illegal business practices were routinely used, which included requiring customers to pay in advance for repair services that were not provided or improperly done.

The state’s lawsuit alleges that Fogel victimized consumers by collecting upfront fees for service and parts; and failing to begin, complete or redo requested repairs. The suit further alleges that Fogel broke the law by failing to provide consumers with adequate warranties or guarantees; failing to notify consumers of their right to a written estimate; and operating as an unlicensed service dealer. He does not have a license with the city for his business.

"Consumers need to be confident that when they call a repairman to come to their home they won’t get scammed," Spitzer said. "My office will continue to work with other agencies to help consumers feel confident that when they call a repair service, the work will be done properly and all promises will be fulfilled."

The Attorney General’s lawsuit is supported by 21 consumer complaints. Many were filed by senior citizens who were promised discounts in Fogel’s ads in the Yellow Pages and on the Internet.

When making house visits to consumers who responded to his advertisements, Fogel told consumers that he required an advance payment that included a $20 house call fee and payment for parts, which typically ranged from $60 to $150. In some cases he told customers he would return to do the work, but failed to do so. The lawsuit also charges that Fogel allegedly installed defective or incompatible parts. When customers called Fogel to complain he failed to return their phone calls.

The Attorney General acknowledged the assistance of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York in the case.

The case is being handled by Roberto Lebron of the Attorney General’s regional office in Harlem, under the direction of Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge Guy Mitchell and by Jane Azia of the Consumer Frauds and Protection bureau.