State Blasts Sneaky Sales Pitches

     SEATTLE (CN) – A window company trains employees to lie about prices and energy savings and to use “misrepresentations designed to get them inside the home,” Washington’s attorney general says. The state sued Statewide Inc. and its affiliates, including Penguin Windows, in King County Court.




     Attorney General Robert McKenna says Penguin Windows falsely claims that it “will not ask prospective customers to buy replacement windows at their appointments when that is the primary purpose of the appointments.”
     McKenna also sued Statewide Energy Systems, Statewide Home Improvement, Statewide Vinyl, Statewide Windows and Statewide Window & Siding.
     The attorney general says Statewide trains its door-to-door salesmen with “rebuttal scripts” designed to get them into the house.
     “For example, if the prospective customer resists confirming the appointment, Penguin’s representatives are trained to use rebuttal scripts that misrepresent the purpose for the appointment. If a homeowner states that ‘Everything is fine/good right now,’ Penguin’s employees are trained to reply, ‘I’m not asking you to change anything …’
     “Similarly, if customers ask, ‘What are you selling?’ Penguin trains its employees to reply, ‘I’m not selling anything …'” the complaint states.
     Employees are given scripts that misrepresent a full sales presentation as a “quick 15 minute energy inspection,” the attorney general says.
     Statewide promises its victims “false and unsubstantiated energy savings claims” of at least 40 percent, the state says. But McKenna says Statewide and Penguin “did not possess and rely upon any … reasonable basis” for its claims.
     Nonetheless, “Sales representatives are also trained to and in fact do present the cost saving amounts to justify homeowners spending thousands of dollars on replacement windows.”
     The state seeks an injunction, restitution and damages for violations of the Consumer Protection Act.

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