Curran Charges Prince George's County Mirror Company with Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 14, 2000

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has charged a Beltsville mirror company with unfair and deceptive practices and has requested an order requiring Sterling to cease such practices and return payments owed to consumers. Sterling Mirror of Maryland, Inc., and its president, Michael Kaperst, were charged with failing to honor consumers' cancellation rights and refusing to refund deposits to consumers who were denied financing for their order, in violation of the Maryland Door-to-Door Sales Act, Retail Installment Sales Act and Consumer Protection Act.

Sterling sells customized mirrors and installation services to consumers in their homes. Under the Maryland Door-to-Door Sales Law and Retail Installment Sales Act, consumers who wish to finance their purchases are not obligated to pay for the mirrors they order unless their financing is approved and they are provided fully executed contracts setting forth the terms of that financing. The Attorney General alleges that Sterling violated these laws and the Consumer Protection Act when it misled consumers concerning their cancellation rights and refused to refund payments to consumers who were denied financing and sought to cancel their orders.

"It is wrong to agree to sell a product to a consumer on financing and then when the financing is denied, to try to keep the consumer's deposit," said General Curran.

The Consumer Protection Division is also seeking to have Sterling pay its investigation costs and a civil penalty for each of Sterling's violations of law. A public hearing on the charges is scheduled for Wednesday, June 13, 2000 at 9:30 a.m. at the Office of Administrative Hearings, 11101 Gilroy Road in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Consumers who wish to contact the Consumer Protection Division may call (410) 576-6591.


Media inquiries: Sean Caine (410) 576-6357
All other inquiries: Philip Ziperman (410) 576-6374