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For Immediate Release

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

Attorney General Gansler Issues Cease and Desist Against Maryland Locksmith Company
Around the Clock Locksmith Allegedly Overcharged Consumers

BALTIMORE, MD ( April 7, 2010) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has issued a Cease and Desist Order against a Maryland locksmith, ATCL-MD, Inc., T/A Around the Clock Locksmith and its owner Joseph M. Horton. The Consumer Protection Division has charged Around the Clock Locksmith and Horton with billing consumers exorbitant fees, such as more than $4,300 to replace a lock and deadbolt, and fees as high as $1,400 simply to respond to a consumer’s request for locksmith services. According to the Division’s Statement of Charges, Around the Clock Locksmith refuses to give consumers an estimate of its fees or provides extremely low estimates. When consumers balked at paying the undisclosed fees, the company allegedly charged the consumers’ credit card without prior authorization.

In addition to overcharging consumers, Around The Clock Locksmith and the company’s owner, Joseph Horton, are accused of falsely using a competitor’s name to steal the competitor’s customers and misrepresenting that the company is a member in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. The Consumer Protection Division ordered the company and Horton to immediately cease and desist from engaging in these and other unfair or deceptive trade practices.

“You can’t provide a low estimate to get your foot in the door and then charge multiples of that estimate to perform the service,” said Attorney General Gansler. “The Order requires the company to provide realistic estimates and to stick by them.”

Consumers should always ask for price estimates before requesting any service and be wary of companies that will not provide estimates. Consumers may contact the Consumer Protection Division to find out if there have been complaints filed against a business by other consumers. For more information, consumers may call the Consumer Protection hotline at (410) 528-8662 or 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free.

 

   

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