Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced a lawsuit seeking restitution from a seller accused of failing to deliver generators sold to Ohio consumers, including some in Delaware County.
The lawsuit accuses Marc J. Ryder, doing business as RHI Inc., of violating Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and Home Solicitation Sales Act, DeWine said.
Ryder sold generators to consumers of multiple Ohio counties, including Franklin, Summit, Muskingum, and Delaware, in some cases at home and garden shows or similar events, DeWine said. In the past two years, 10 consumers filed complaints against RHI, generally saying that they paid thousands of dollars for a generator they still had not received months after the sale, DeWine said. Two of the 10 complaints remain unresolved.
“Our goal is to protect consumers,” DeWine said. “We’re seeking reimbursement for consumers who have lost money and an end to any violations of Ohio’s consumer protection laws.”
Filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court on Friday, DeWine’s lawsuit accuses Ryder of failing to deliver products or services within the required eight-week time frame, failing to register a business name, and failing to give consumers proper notice of their right to cancel under Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales Act. DeWine said he seeks an end to any violations of these laws, consumer damages, and civil penalties.
Meanwhile, DeWine encouraged consumers to be cautious when making large purchases from vendors. Tips to avoid problems, he said, include:
• Research a seller carefully. Check for complaints filed with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Better Business Bureau. Find out if the business name is registered with the Ohio Secretary of State. (Unless a seller is operating under his or her own personal name, the name generally should be registered.) Check online reviews to learn more about a seller.
• Independently verify a seller’s claims. If a vendor claims to be an authorized dealer or to be affiliated with a larger company, contact the company to verify these claims. Don’t rely only on what the seller tells you. Also make sure the seller puts any verbal promises in writing. Otherwise they are not guaranteed.
• Check your cancellation rights. Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales Act gives consumers a three-day right to cancel many sales made outside a seller’s normal place of business, such as at a home show or fair. Sellers are required to give you notice of these cancellation rights.
• Consider paying with a credit card, if possible. If you pay with a credit card, you generally have stronger protections to dispute unauthorized charges. On the other hand, if you pay with cash or check, it’s generally harder to dispute or recover your costs if something goes wrong.
Consumers who suspect a scam or unfair business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.