Local Air Duct Cleaning Business Faces Consumer Fraud Charges
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced the consumer fraud lawsuit filed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office against a local home air duct and furnace cleaning business in the northwest suburban, following alleged fraudulent schemes and swindling conspiracies of the company.
The American Pure Air, Inc. – a northwest suburban home air duct and furnace cleaning company, along with its owners and operators Gal Yarimi and Barak Schnitman, have been charged for violating provisions of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. The lawsuit was filed against the defendants on June 8, 2010, and claims that the owners and operators of the American Pure Air, Inc. of Arlington Heights are responsible and accountable to overcharging their customers for unnecessary or incomplete work, as well as for intimidating their customers for payment.
Prosecutors reported that the American Pure Air, Inc. allegedly employed deception and misguided their consumers in order to acquire inflated charges for their services. It was revealed that the company would misinform their clients of the non-existent contaminants, such as bacteria, dust mites, fungus, and molds in their duct of a furnace, and frighten their clients by saying that those contaminants posed an immediate health risk. As a result, the American Pure Air, Inc. can sell additional, unnecessary products and services to the consumer in order to “eliminate” or “control” the aforementioned contaminants that present health risks. The homeowners are often forced to pay for inflated charges accounting for extra “germicidal ultraviolet lights,” furnace cleanings, or sanitizers.
Investigations revealed that homeowners are being recruited to secure the services of the company under false pretense through advertisements involving whole house air duct cleaning services initially amounting to approximately $99. Later on, an inflated invoice amounting to over $1000 would be charged to the client, instead of the declared $99 bill. The American Pure Air, Inc. was also found to be performing extra services without the client’s knowledge and authorization, which would later come as a surprise to the homeowner, including the additional charges posted. The company would subsequently intimidate the consumer into paying for the unwarranted services. Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that the American Pure Air, Inc. would offer “free-of-charge” services, including free furnace inspection or free dyer vent cleaning; however, it was reported that the company would later impose to the client some initially undisclosed limitations of the advertisement. This implies that the American Pure Air, Inc. acquires clients under fake advertisements and swindles their consumers. Moreover, the company is found to have failed to clean all of the ductwork in the homeowner’s house, as well as provides deficient services subject to the advertised free dryer vent cleaning.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez expressed her revulsion towards fraudulent individuals and asserts compensation for the victims. “It is an outrage that consumers seeking honest services to help clean the air within their own homes have been subjected to this type of fraud. On behalf of the consumers who have been victimized by this company, we intend to seek full restitution,” State’s Attorney Alvarez said.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office – Consumer Fraud Unit received over 20 complaints regarding the deceptive practices of the American Pure Air, Inc. from consumers and residents, to which the State’s Attorney’s Office responded with taking action and filing charges against the company. The lawsuit filed against the American Pure Air, Inc. seeks to permanently prohibit the defendants from engaging in the aforementioned deceptive practices, as well as ban the defendants from contributing to fraudulent schemes. Furthermore, the lawsuit orders the defendants to pay full restitution and refund for the victims amounting to $50,000 in damages.
Further information on the lawsuit, as well as additional information on consumer fraud and consumer fraud safety protections, may be acquired from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office – Consumer Fraud Unit through Telephone at (312) 603-8700.
Updated: September 7, 2020