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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Gansler Orders Rental Listing Company
to Cease Illegal Practices
Maryland Rentals Must Pay $735,000 in Restitution, Penalties and Costs for Advertising Fictitious Rental Properties

BALTIMORE, MD (May 15, 2008) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced that the Consumer Protection Division has ordered U.S. Rental Network, LLC, a/k/a Caruso Publishing, LLC, located at 6425 Harford Road, and the company’s owner, Christopher Caruso, a Michigan resident, to cease offering illegal rental referral services. The Division ordered U.S. Rentals and its owner to return all of the fees they charged consumers. Under the Division’s order, 6,100 consumers are entitled to restitution totaling $455,250. The company and Caruso were also ordered to pay penalties and costs totaling $242,084.36.

The Division found that U.S. Rental and Caruso advertised rental properties that did not actually exist in local newspapers. When consumers responded to the ads listing attractive houses with low rents, instead of being offered the advertised properties, they were sold a rental listing service that cost $75. The company represented its services were “100% guaranteed.” However, when consumers who purchased the company’s service could not find houses to rent, U.S. Rentals refused to refund their fees.

“U.S. Rentals took advantage of consumers looking for affordable rental properties for their families,” said Attorney General Gansler. “When businesses offer a house for rent, they must have the ability to actually rent the property, at the advertised rent.”

The Attorney General’s Office has previously brought actions against two other companies - Maryland Rentals, LLC and U.S. Rental Network, LLC - for falsely advertising affordable rental housing. In making today’s announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked Assistant Attorneys General Phil Ziperman and Catherine Dowling for their work on the case.

   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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