PINELLAS CO., Fla. (WFLA) — Florida attorney General Ashley Moody took legal action against two hot tub and spa companies in Pinellas County for “deceptive business practices” and for “deceiving customers.”
According to a legal document filed by the attorney general’s office, Alejandro Flores-Ramirez, who owns Affordable Spa Covers, Inc. and Coverlex, Inc. allegedly violated state statutes by advertising and selling hot tub and spa covers via an online store, with Affordable Spa Covers selling the products, and Coverlex manufacturing them.
When the AG’s office began to investigate, court documents show the company advertised fast delivery and turnaround, but the company’s website “fails to define ‘fast,’” while requiring customers to go through multiple pages to find shipping information. Some of the language on the websites used by Flores-Ramirez state they offered “expedited production and shipping” and promised that “no one can build and ship as fast as us.”
The legal filing states Flores-Ramirez’s business received more than 350 consumer complaints. According to the complaints, customers paid more than $90,000 “for products that were never received, were damaged, or were received months after they were originally scheduled to be delivered.”
Complaints reviewed by the AG’s office state that starting in 2018, delivery times have increased from an advertised four to six weeks to 12 to 16 weeks instead, and that “the Defendant Enterprise routinely failed to meet these delivery deadlines” taking “well over” the promised 16 weeks to deliver products. Some customers reported buying from the company more than a year ago, who have still not received their order, or a refund in its place.
“Consumers expected prompt delivery and excellent service due to representations made by Affordable Spa Covers and Coverlex, yet often received their orders months later than expected—if the orders arrived at all,” Moody said in an announcement.
In court, Moody’s office is requesting a permanent injunction to block Flores-Ramirez from working in Florida as a seller or manufacturer of hot tub and spa covers, as well as a request for restitution to consumers and coverage of legal fees for the state.
Additionally, the state is requesting civil penalties be assessed to the amount of $10,000 per violation of unfair or deceptive practice laws, and an additional $15,000 per violation of victimizing customers who were handicapped or a senior citizen.