10-year warranties get former Texas contractor in deep trouble

Texas Attorney General John Cornyn filed suit against Hispanic Air Conditioning, Inc., for allegedly violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The suit claims the company sold a/c units with an assurance of a 10-year warranty, which was not part of the sales package.

The ads targeted a non-English-speaking community, potentially more vulnerable to consumer fraud.

Cornyn said that “Protecting consumers’ rights is a top priority. If you are victimizing consumers and abusing the system, we will shut you down.”

Between the spring of 1998 and 1999, the contracting company allegedly advertised a 10-year warranty on all parts and labor on units they installed. The ads targeted Hispanics on Spanish language radio and TV.

Approximately 3,000 units were sold that were not protected by the 10-year warranty.

The attorney general also alleges that Hispanic A/C installed units without securing proper municipal ordinances and has asked the court to prohibit the company from installing units without obtaining the required permits and inspections.

Contractors want to see justice

The Texas Air Conditioning Contractors of America (TACCA), which has worked closely with the Texas Department of Labor and Regulation during the investigation, wants to see swift justice in the lawsuit.

Nancy Jones, TACCA’s executive director, said this problem of unprofessionalism of course is not confined to Texas. Such activities nationwide give contractors a bad image.

Hispanic A/C is “pretty much disbanded” and former salespeople are now working for other contractors, Jones said.

“I think many of the salespeople will be affected by the lawsuit,” she added.

Attempts made by The News to contact the company were unsuccessful.

The Attorney General is seeking penalties in the amount of $2,000 per violation, up to $10,000 per defendant, and the payment of state attorneys’ fees.

Heather Brown, spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office, said, “Negotiations are going on toward reaching a settlement.” It is not known when a settlement will be announced.

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