The State Attorney General's Office is suing an online seller of stethoscopes registered as a business on Mercer Island for sales practices that allegedly caused consumers "substantial heartache," according to a press release.
The state’s suit filed Friday, April 1 in King County Superior Court names Seattle resident Marc Werblud and two companies he owns: , of Mercer Island, and Magna Fortis Corp., of Bellevue. The defendants are accused of violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act.
“The crux of the problem is that many consumers who paid for stethoscopes and blood-pressure equipment didn’t receive their orders and couldn’t reach anyone to complain,” said Senior Counsel Paula Selis, who heads up the Consumer Protection High-Tech Unit.
Stethoscopes Plus is registered as a business using the address of the at Tabit Village Shopping Center. The company bills itself as firm specializing in custom engraved stethoscopes, stating on its website that it is the "World's Leading Stethoscope Laser Engraver Since 1996." According to the complaint, the firm also sells blood-pressure and opthalmic equipment.
The Attorney General’s Office has received 23 complaints about the businesses since 2007, mostly from consumers in other states. Consumers, who typically were charged hundreds of dollars for products, said they didn’t receive their orders. Although company Web sites promise live customer support from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Pacific Time and 24-hour online support, customers say their calls and e-mails went unanswered.
The state’s suit asks for injunctive provisions to stop the unfair business practices, as well as civil penalties and consumer restitution.