(CANTON, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced a lawsuit against Pro Audio Video, Inc. and its owner Michael E. White, both of Canton. According to the lawsuit, the online business took consumers’ money but failed to deliver the products they ordered. Hundreds of consumers nationwide may have been affected.
“Businesses that operate online must follow the same consumer protection laws as brick-and-mortar stores,” Attorney General DeWine said. “When they fail to fulfill their obligations, we will take action to help consumers.”
Pro Audio Video operated its online business at 1620 30th
Street NE in Canton. The business advertised and sold various goods online, ranging from sound systems and band equipment to Halloween costumes. It used multiple websites and names, including Pro Audio Video, Cheap Band Gear, Cheap DJ Gear, Eliminator Lighting Direct, Halloween Effects, and Pro Sound Depot.
Consumers complained that they still had not received goods weeks after they were ordered from the business and that they were unable to obtain refunds. Additionally, the business advertised and sold products that were on backorder without clearly notifying consumers that the products were on backorder.
The lawsuit, filed in the Stark County Common Pleas Court, charges the business and its owner with two violations of the Consumer Sales Practices Act: failure to deliver and failure to disclose material terms and conditions in advertisements. In the lawsuit, the Attorney General seeks consumer restitution, injunctive relief, and civil penalties.
Consumers should follow these rules to protect themselves when shopping online:
Research a company using several sources, including the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Better Business Bureau. Be cautious if reports indicate that a company failed to respond to consumers' complaints.
Read terms and conditions carefully before making an online purchase. Look for the refund policy, frequently asked questions, and other terms.
Credit cards offer stronger protection than debit cards if a purchase goes wrong. You can dispute a credit card charge within 60 days of receiving your bill, whereas with a debit card the money is immediately debited from your checking account and often difficult to recover.
Keep copies of all records associated with the purchase, such as emails and electronic receipts.
Consumers who believe they have been treated unfairly should file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Kate Hanson: 614-466-3840