Toms River Company Agrees to Pay $58,490 to
Investigation Conducted by the
State Division of Consumer Affairs
NEWARK - Community Surgical Supply, Inc., a company that provides wheelchairs, oxygen machines and other healthcare equipment to consumers, will revise its business practices and be subject to state monitoring, under terms of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) that resolves an investigation of the company by the State Division of Consumer Affairs.
Community Surgical Supply will pay $50,000 in civil penalties, plus $8,490 in reimbursement of the attorneys' fees and investigative costs incurred by the Division, under terms of the AVC. The investigation examined the company's business practices to determine compliance with the state's Consumer Fraud Act and the Refund Policy Disclosure Act and related regulations.
As part of the settlement, the company is required to employ a Consumer Liaison and perform quarterly audits for at least two years to ensure compliance with the state's consumer protection laws and terms of the AVC.
For a period of one (1) year, any consumer complaints received by the Division will be referred to Community Surgical Supply for resolution. Any unresolved complaints will be referred to the Division's Alternative Dispute Resolution ("ADR") Unit for binding arbitration, under terms of the AVC. Also, Community Surgical Supply must maintain files on all actions it files in Small Claims Court for the next seven (7) years.
"The company is required to disclose its return and refund policies, both at its retail location and on its website, under the law. We expect full compliance, and we will be closely monitoring the company's business practices," Attorney General Paula T. Dow said.
Dow thanked the Ocean County Office of Consumer Affairs for beginning the investigation of Community Surgical Supply and then working with Division investigators to resolve the case.
Twenty-four (24) complaints filed by consumers since 2008 against Community Surgical Supply were settled prior to the AVC being signed. One existing consumer complaint will be sent to binding arbitration for resolution.
"With the sweeping business reforms mandated by this settlement, it is my hope we won't hear any more consumer allegations about the company refusing to accept return of equipment as rental fees continue to pile up," said Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. "If we do, our investigators will be back at the company's offices."
The AVC also provides a 30-day grace period for the return of unused merchandise by a consumer, except for garments and rented equipment.
Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Koziar of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section represented the Division in this matter. This matter was investigated by the Division's Office of Consumer Protection.