Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Thursday, May 2, 2002

CORNYN NEGOTIATES PLAN TO HELP VICTIMS DEFRAUDED BY HISPANIC AIR CONDITIONING AND HEATING, INC.

Agreement Gives Affected Consumers Important Benefits; Deadline to Apply Is August 2, 2002

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today urged consumers who believe they were victims of Hispanic Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. to immediately file complaints with his office if they have not already done so. Under an agreement announced today by the Attorney General, consumers throughout Texas who bought central air conditioning systems from this company might be eligible for several benefits, including professional inspections of their units and renegotiation of the terms of their purchase agreements. To be eligible for benefits, consumers must file their complaint no later than August 2, 2002.

Although Hispanic Air Conditioning and Heating ceased operations shortly after the Attorney General sued the company in 1999, Cornyn has negotiated agreements with Household Retail Services, Inc., Conseco Finance Servicing Corp., and Green Tree Financial Corp., the companies that financed many of the systems, and the manufacturers of the units. These agreements resolve the most important issues addressed in consumers' complaints against Hispanic Air Conditioning and Heating.

The financing companies have indicated that, in addition to addressing other consumer complaints, the companies will extend the following relief to their customers affected by Hispanic Air Conditioning and Heating's wrongdoings:

  • repair (or, if necessary, replacement) of central air and heat systems;
  • repair of any related damage to the consumers's home; and
  • replacement of over- or under-sized units.

Consumers in Texas eligible for this relief include customers of Hispanic Air Conditioning and Heating who:

  • have already complained to the Office of the Attorney General or any other state office about the company;
  • have already complained directly to their finance companies;
  • contact the Office of the Attorney General or their finance company no later than August 2, 2002.

Consumers who believe they were victims and who have not yet filed complaints with the Attorney General should do so by calling 1-800-252-8011 or by downloading complaint forms in Spanish or English from www.oag.state.tx.us. Consumers who financed their air conditioning units through Household Bank can contact Household Retail Services directly at 1-800-811-3100.

In separate agreements with the Office of the Attorney General, the manufacturers of the various air conditioning systems have pledged to provide consumers, upon request and at no cost, written copies of the warranties, installation instructions and operating manuals, and/or owners' manuals for their specific units. Warranties will be available in English and Spanish.

To request warranties and other documentation about the systems, consumers must call their system's manufacturer (at the toll-free numbers listed below) and advise them of the model and serial number of their unit.

Carrier - 1-800-CARRIER (1-800-227-7437)

Lennox - 1-800-9-LENNOX (1-800-953-6669)

Goodman/Amana - 1-877-246-7691 (toll-free)

Each of the manufacturers has bilingual operators available at the toll-free numbers listed above who can communicate with Spanish-speaking consumers.

Hispanic Air Conditioning and Heating operated in Texas and other states until the company ceased operations in August of 1999. The company sold central air conditioning systems through a team of door-to-door salespersons, primarily targeting Spanish-speaking consumers. The company sold systems to over 4000 Hispanic families in Texas.

An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General between 1998 and 1999 revealed that Hispanic Air had violated Texas consumer protection laws by failing to provide all documentation in Spanish when transactions were negotiated in Spanish; failing to provide promised warranties; misrepresenting the consumers' right to cancel the transactions; and using unlicensed technicians who often did not install systems properly, thus leaving malfunctioning systems and damaged homes.

Attorney General Cornyn filed suit against Hispanic Air Conditioning and Heating, Household Retail Services, and other parties in October, 1999.

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