Judge Orders Company to Halt Deceptive Practices
PIERRE, S.D.- Attorney General Larry Long announced today that a judge has enjoined Sioux Falls Quality Water and its owner, James A. Lund, from engaging in deceptive trade practices.
"We are very pleased that the Court ordered Lund and his business to stop deceiving consumers," Long said. "We want to warn consumers to be aware of this company."
The State sued Lund and Sioux Falls Quality Water on June 12, 2006, alleging that they had engaged in deceptive trade practices. Two elderly women later contacted the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, stating that Lund and Sioux Falls Quality Water were continuing to engage in deceptive trade practices. The Attorney General then filed for a preliminary injunction to stop the deceptive trade practices.
After a hearing in Sioux Falls on November 1, Circuit Court Judge Stuart L. Tiede agreed that Lund and Sioux Falls Quality Water had engaged in deceptive trade practices and ordered them to stop deceiving consumers. The court specifically found that Lund and his company had provided false information to consumers and that they had altered documents after consumers had signed the documents.
"Our concern now is that despite our enforcement action and despite the Judge's clear order, they might continue to engage in deceptive trade practices," Long said. "We want consumers to be aware of the Judge's order and to consider what this company has done to other consumers before doing business with this company."
Consumers allege that Lund and Sioux Falls Quality Water:
- Convinced them to try a product "risk-free" for thirty days, but then later refused to refund their money when the consumers attempted to return the product to Lund, leaving the consumers stuck with a costly, unwanted product;
- Overcharged for products - Lund has charged consumers $1000 for air purifiers that can be purchased for only $349;
- Frightened consumers with false information about health hazards. For example, Lund told an elderly woman that she had "awful mold" in her basement which would cause her to have breathing problems and that she needed to buy an air purifier from him. After hearing testimony, the Judge found no evidence of mold in her basement. Other consumers stated that Lund has told them that their drinking water would give them cancer and that they needed to purchase a water purifier from him;
- Visited homes of consumers, uninvited and unannounced, and aggressively pressured consumers to buy products.
Sioux Falls Quality Water is owned by Lund, and other employees include his wife Teresa, and their two adult sons, Tyler Lund and Troy Jacobsen. They have sold products in southeastern South Dakota, and in Minnesota and Iowa.
This is not Lund’s first encounter with regulators. Lund sold insurance in South Dakota until his license was revoked in 1990 after the Division of Insurance received dozens of complaints about him.
The preliminary injunction obtained by the Attorney General prohibits Lund and Sioux Falls Quality Water from engaging in deceptive trade practices. The Attorney General is seeking a permanent injunction which would prohibit Lund and his business from engaging in any sales or repair work if they continue to engage in deceptive practices.
Consumers with questions or complaints may contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or by visiting http://atg.sd.gov/Consumers.aspx.