Ohio A.G. Files Suit Against Home-Improvement Company Following Complaints

September 22, 2004

Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro has filed suit against Thermal Seal Inc. (Thermal Seal), which also does business under the name Gutter Helmet, and owner Ronald M. Heath, Jr., for reported violations of Ohio’s consumer protection laws.

Violations include failure to deliver home-improvement services after taking payments for them, failure to deliver cash-back vouchers, failure to honor warranties, shoddy workmanship, and deceptive practices of entering into contracts with consumers knowing that the business is in financial trouble and the work may never be completed.

The business offers home-improvement services selling windows, siding, gutter systems and sunrooms. Sales pitches are made in the homes, where products, prices and financing are agreed to.

Many consumers were reportedly enticed into a sale because of Thermal Seal’s “Cash Back Voucher Program” offer. Consumers were told that by signing up for the program, they would receive all or part of the purchase price as a refund. When consumers attempted to claim the refund, however, they were reportedly told the business did not sign them up for it and they were not entitled to a refund.

Attorney General Petro is asking the court to prevent Thermal Seal and Ronald M. Heath Jr., from continuing business until any judgments resulting from the suit are fulfilled. The suit also asks that customers be reimbursed for losses incurred by Thermal Seal’s violations of the Consumer Sales Practices Act and that the business pay a civil penalty of $25,000 for each violation.

The Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint against Thermal Seal Inc. in 2001 for reportedly not honoring warranties, shoddy workmanship, and changes in terms. The suit was settled in 2001 with a $15,000 civil penalty and an additional $33,000 in home-improvement goods going to Habitat for Humanity, restitution to violated consumers, and promises to work with the Attorney General’s Office to mediate any further complaints filed against it.

In spring 2004, a reported noticeable increase in the number of complaints about the business was noted. After numerous attempts to mediate them without response, an investigation was opened in August 2004, resulting in the suit filed.

Thermal Seal Inc. and Gutter Helmet, a Thermal Seal Inc. company, are located at 4777 Westerville Road, Columbus. The suit also includes Ronald M. Heath, Jr., who controls and directs both businesses.

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