Appliance Retailer to Settle Unfair Business Practices Suit for $10.5 Million

  • California AG Xavier Becerra reached partial settlement with appliance retail store chain Adir International, LLC d/b/a La Curacao and a related entity and individual (collectively, “Curacao”) to resolve allegations that it engaged in unlawful business practices and misleading advertising in violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law and other consumer protection statutes.
  • As previously reported, the complaint alleged that Curacao targeted low-income, Spanish-speaking immigrants who lacked access to traditional credit through allegedly misleading advertising, unwanted contract add-ons, illegal sales of warranties or failed warranties, and illegal debt collection practices. Curacao also allegedly violated consumers’ rights by bringing small claims actions over allegedly delinquent loans without issuing proper notice to consumers.
  • Under the terms of the partial judgment, Curacao will provide $10 million in debt relief and debt forgiveness to consumers and will pay a civil penalty of $500,000. In addition Curacao will be required to prominently display a consumers’ bill of rights in its stores, including its return policies, include additional disclosures in its advertising, provide a contract in the consumer’s language before asking them to sign it, engage a corporate ethics expert to create and maintain a sales program that incentivizes lawful behavior, and report its compliance to the AG’s office for 2.5 years, among other things.
  • Unresolved claims related to Curacao’s payment protection plans and insurance practices are set for trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.