A roofing company based in Toledo, Ohio is refunding over $16,000 to customers in Iowa, who apparently didn’t know their dealings with the company included membership to a buying club. Erie Construction agreed to the refund involving 42 Iowa consumers in a deal with the Iowa Attorney General’s office.
Bob Brammer, a spokesperson for the A-G’s office, says the buying club membership was presented as a "gift" to customers, who were actually charged $390. "There was a term in there that signed up customers, unknowingly, for a buying club that had nothing to do with the roofing job," Brammer said. "The consumers didn’t know about it and it cost 390 dollars. They didn’t want it and they never used it."
The buying club entitled customers to receive discounts on products such as eyeglasses and long-distance phone service. Brammer says his office doesn’t dispute the benefits of the buying club program, but claims people were deceived. "People didn’t know about it and they were paying almost 400 dollars for something they didn’t know was there," Brammer said.
The formal written agreement with the Iowa Attorney General does not ban Erie Construction from doing business in the state. "Actually, we think they may be not operating much in Iowa now under these new requirements, but they are operating around the Midwest," Brammer said.
The $390 checks were mailed to the 42 Iowa customers Wednesday. In addition to the consumer refunds, Erie Construction is paying the State of Iowa $5,000 for the cost of the Attorney General’s investigation.