After receiving 180 consumer complaints directly from consumers or the Better Business Bureau, Home Performance Alliance, Inc., a Saint Petersburg compamy, was sued by the State of Florida Attorney General’s Office.
Owned by Gary Delia, Home Performance Alliance, Inc. sells home improvement products and services, that produce retail sales from $10,000 to $30,000.
The Attorney General accused the company of “unfair and deceptive practices or acts.” On October 13, an Affidavit from Delia indicated that over $615,000 in refunds, reductions, offsets and forgiven debts or other sums had been issued to satisfy some of the demands of the Attorney General.
Kylie Mason, from the Attorney General’s office, said, “An additional $90,000 in civil penalties and $10,000 for fees and costs are also required to be paid.”
It is also understood that Delia’s role in the company has been restricted.
The complaints received stretched beyond high-pressure sales tactics and consumer misunderstandings, causing the lawsuit to describe the company’s tactics as “those which shock the conscience.” They also included bait-and-switch tactics, intimidation, harassment, failure to honor cancellation requests, shoddy workmanship, improper document execution, improper uses of consumer information, and outright deceit. Legally, the company’s underhanded tactics caused false notary witness signatures, forged or falsely executed documents, misrepresented consumer contract terms, and the filing of false documents in the public record.
Many consumers, some who did not purchase products from the company, complained they were either physically threatened or intimidated with threats of being sued, having liens placed on their homes, or having negative credit reports filed. Some sales representatives refused to leave the homeowners’ properties or attempted to secure sales contract signatures by falsely claiming the document to be signed was just an estimate. According to the complaint, the company attempted to install products that were not the products selected by the consumers.
Home Performance Alliance was subject to civil penalties of $10,000 per willful violation, as well as penalties of $15,000 per willful violation where unscrupulous tactics affected senior citizens or persons over the age of 60.
Mason indicated that complaints against the company have been declining.