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For Immediate Release
July 24, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

CURRAN ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT WITH SEARS OVER PLUMBING SERVICE

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that Sears, Roebuck & Co. has agreed to a settlement with Curran's Consumer Protection Division to resolve allegations that it violated a prior settlement by failing to ensure that its authorized representatives used only licensed plumbers to perform plumbing services.

Under the settlement, Sears agreed to ensure that only licensed plumbers operate under the Sears name, guarantee the workmanship of plumbing services performed by any Sears Authorized Plumber, and monitor all plumbing services performed by companies authorized to provide plumbing services for Sears to ensure that they are using licensed plumbers. Sears also agreed to pay $200,000 to the State and $50,000 to cover the Division's investigation costs.

"Consumers who call a plumber have the right to know that the individual who responds is properly licensed to perform the repairs," Curran said.

The prior settlement, entered into with Sears in 1998, arose out of the Division's investigation of Warner Plumbing and its American Mechanical Systems subsidiary, which had operated as the Sears Authorized Plumber in Maryland. The Division issued a Final Order against Warner Plumbing in December 1999, finding that Warner's use of unlicensed individuals to provide plumbing services violated Maryland's Consumer Protection Act.

Consumers who have complaints about plumbing services performed by a Sears Authorized Plumber should contact Sears, the Maryland State Board of Plumbing at (410) 230-6270, and the Consumer Protection Division at (410) 528-8662.

 

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