For Immediate Release
February 18, 2009
Associate Attorney General Richard W. Head
Attorney General Kelly Ayotte announced that on Tuesday February 17, 2009, Belknap County Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler signed an ex parte attachment against Mr. Fireplace, Inc. in the amount of $200,000. Mr. Fireplace is a Laconia business engaged in the sale of wood stoves, pellet stoves, fireplace inserts and other wood burning heating devices.
In its Petition filed with the Court, the Attorney General's Office alleged that from January 2008 until the present, Mr. Fireplace has engaged in the practice of entering into contracts with consumers for the purchase and sale of wood stoves, pellet stoves and similar heating devices. The Attorney General's Office has alleged that Mr. Fireplace acted in an unfair or deceptive manner by extracting down payments from consumers for the purchase of wood stoves, pellet stoves and fireplace inserts, and then either failing to deliver the product, delivering defective products, and/or failing to refund deposits.
The Attorney General has received approximately 36 complaints about Mr. Fireplace's business practices, and new complaints are being filed almost daily. "My office is concerned about any business which engages in unfair or deceptive business practices," said Attorney General Kelly Ayotte. "Consumers must have confidence that, when they leave a deposit with a New Hampshire business, the consumer will have the product delivered, or the deposit returned. It is not only a problem for consumers when a company violates our laws, but also reflects poorly on the commercial practices of our state and the upstanding business men and women who work hard at customer relations and compliance."
In addition to the attachment issued by the Court, the State's Petition seeks payment of restitution to consumers who are owed money, and civil penalties for violations of New Hampshire's Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. A hearing on the attachment is scheduled for Monday February 23, 2009 at 1:30 p.m.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301