Attorney General Cuomo Settles With Trugreen Lawn Care Over Deceptive Sales And Contract Practices

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 7, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced today a settlement with nationwide lawn care provider TruGreen over deceptive practices regarding its service contracts, renewal policies and responses to cancellation requests.

TruGreen Limited Partnership, headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., provides lawn care services across the country and in New York, including fertilization as well as weed, disease and pest control and application of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides.

New York state pesticide statutes and regulations prohibit application of pesticides without a signed agreement. The Attorney General’s investigation found that TruGreen violated this regulation, applied both pesticides and fertilizer without authorization, billed for the service, and then did not respond to consumer complaints in a timely fashion. The investigation also found that TruGreen automatically renewed contracts and services after misleading consumers into thinking that the contracts would be terminated.

“My office received complaints that this company was not direct and forthcoming about its contracts, forcing consumers to pay for unwanted services,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “TruGreen has agreed to revise its contract language and change its practices so that consumers don’t get stuck in a web of misleading and deceptive statements and terms.”

When Attorney General Cuomo’s Office notified TruGreen of complaints where consumers said that the company continued to apply products to their lawns without authorization, the company either credited the cost of the application from the consumer’s account or refunded the consumer’s payment. As part of the agreement, TruGreen must also provide to consumers in writing the contract terms and how to cancel any services. The company also has to improve its complaint procedures, including immediate cancellation of a service contract when a consumer requests it, as well as a letter confirming the cancellation within 30 business days. TruGreen also paid $55,000 in penalties, fees and costs to the state.

Consumers who believe they were subjected to deceptive business practices by TruGreen or any other company may contact the Attorney General’s Office at 800-771-7755 or visit www.ag.ny.gov.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Judith C. Malkin under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge of the Syracuse Regional Office Ed Thompson and Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs J. David Sampson.

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