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Post date: June 28 2000

Carpet Cleaner Agrees To Modify Advertising Practices

Attorney General Spitzer today announced a settlement with a carpet cleaning company operating in the Hudson Valley that was accused of misleading advertising.

The company, Tri-State Carpet and Upholstery Care of Teaneck, New Jersey, settled allegations that it used "bait and switch" tactics. Tri-State was formerly known as Master-Clean International of New Rochelle.

At issue was a 1997 promotion that advertised a $7.95-per-room cleaning rate. The actual price for cleaning services often turned out to be significantly higher because company representatives would convince consumers that they needed additional services or they would say that a consumer's carpet was too badly soiled to qualify for the $7.95-per-room rate.

"There is a line between creative and aggressive selling tactics and deceptive business practices," Spitzer said. "My office will continue to monitor the assertions made by carpet cleaners to ensure that consumers are treated fairly."

The principals of Tri-State have agreed to clearly indicate that "results may vary" and that heavily-stained carpets and upholstery may require special cleaning. In addition, they agreed not to imply that Tri-State's basic steam cleaning service cleans all carpets or that results are guaranteed.

Tri-State agreed to honor all advertised discounts, implement a system to respond within 30 days to consumer complaints and pay judgments obtained by former customers already levied against the company. Tri-State also agreed to pay $5,000 to the Attorney General's office to cover the costs of the investigation.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Deborah A. Scalise of the Westchester Regional Office under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General In Charge Gary Brown.