Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced more than 600 Arizona consumers will receive restitution as part of a settlement with Guardian Protection Services (Guardian), a Pennsylvania-based alarm monitoring company. The settlement resolves claims that Guardian concealed material facts from consumers, including an “early termination fee” that required consumers to pay for months or even years of future service that they would never receive.
The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) alleges that Guardian convinced Arizona consumers to enter into contracts with unfair provisions pertaining to advertising, selling, installing, monitoring, and servicing electronic security systems. Additionally, the AGO alleges Guardian’s contracts inadequately disclosed key terms and cancellation options. In some cases, Guardian misrepresented its inability to cancel consumers’ contracts after the consumers complained of deceptive, unfair, and/or fraudulent acts and omissions made during the advertisement and/or sale of their security systems.
As a result of the settlement with the AGO, Guardian must pay $227,558.33 in restitution to 603 Arizona consumers who paid more than $500 for an early termination fee. Consumers who paid more than $500 in early termination fees will receive restitution in the amount they paid over $500 for early termination. A Claims Administrator will contact eligible consumers. No further action is needed by consumers.
“Excessive and unfair fees cannot be concealed or buried in a contract’s fine print,” said Attorney General Brnovich. “We expect companies to be transparent with consumers and inform them of what they’re signing up for when they sign a boilerplate contract.”
The Consent Judgment further stipulates Guardian to pay an additional $200,000 in civil penalties and requires Guardian to clearly and conspicuously disclose any early termination fees in the future. In addition, consumers must be directed to sign their initials next to any termination fee provision for it to be valid.
Unit Chief Counsel Matthew du Mee handled this matter.
If you believe you have been a victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Arizona Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the metro areas at 1(800) 352-8431. Bilingual consumer protection staff is available to assist. Consumers can also file complaints online.
Copy of complaint.