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Lakewood-based General Steel Corp. will pay $4.5 million to settle a consumer-protection case following three years of litigation, the Colorado attorney general’s office said Tuesday.
General Steel is a nationwide provider of large, metal buildings and advertises on radio programs such as the Paul Harvey and Rush Limbaugh shows. The company has 30 days to make the payment.
In 2004, a Jefferson County judge found that the company practiced deceptive sales and marketing tactics by falsely implying that it had an inventory of buildings at factory-direct or clearance prices.
Since then, the court required both sides to identify customers nationwide entitled to restitution.
Attorney General John Suthers said in a statement that the settlement would “provide some relief for customers” that lost money as a result of down payments they placed on buildings.
“In order for the free market to function properly, advertisers must be held accountable for the accuracy of their pitches,” Suthers said.
A General Steel statement described the settlement as not an “admission of a wrongdoing.”
“Although General Steel vehemently disagreed with the court’s only findings that were based on an incredibly small sampling of only a handful of customers early in the case, after 3 years of protracted litigation and the extreme costs associated … it was in the company’s best interests to resolve this matter,” wrote the company’s attorney, Richard Taub.
Restitution totaling $4 million will be paid to 1,440 consumers involved in certain transactions with General Steel since 2000.
The attorneys general offices in Colorado and California will get $200,000 each. The remaining $100,000 will pay a $50,000 civil penalty and cover costs associated with repaying people.
Read more: The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_5429441#ixzz1NQ9avp8G