DCA Keeps Cleaning Up Dirty Pots and Pans Dealers
Rena Ware agrees to $600K settlement for fraudulent business practices, becomes second cookware company punished after recent DCA investigations
Updated July 2, 2010
There’s a knock at the door. It’s a slick-talking salesperson.
If you’re a Spanish-speaking immigrant, they might have targeted you. They trick you into letting them into your home. They make promises and claim their products can make you healthier. They make phony demonstrations. They pressure you into buying their high-priced product, but don’t bother to tell you the details of the contract.
You never left your home but they just took you for a ride.
It’s the way some companies do their business. The County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is fighting every day to protect you from businesses that break the law.
Two years ago, an investigation by the Department of Consumer Affairs forced a door-to-door pots and pans company called Hy Cite or Royal Prestige to change the way they do business. Today, a DCA investigation has led to the California Attorney General and the Los Angeles District Attorney settling with a similar company which used similar fraudulent business practices.
Rena Ware International, Inc., a company based in Redmond, Washington, agreed to pay more than $600,000 in fees and refunds to victims. Rena Ware must also have an independent overseer makes sure the company no longer uses false information or high-pressure sales tactics to lure customers.
“We cannot tolerate these types of fraudulent practices against our residents,” Rigo Reyes, Acting Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs said, “especially when we are currently experiencing so much financial hardship in our communities.”
One of those victims was Mercedes Ballestero. A Rena Ware salesperson came to her Los Angeles home trying to sell the company’s expensive pots and pans. The salesperson said her current cookware was bad and unhealthy. If she bought these Rena Ware products, they’d cook away dangerous hormones from her meat and lower her blood pressure. The salesperson used a tricky demonstration to convince her customer to buy.
Ms. Ballestero was fooled and paid $1,500 for a set of pots and pans. Even worse, the salesperson never told her about the hidden 21.5 percent interest rate. She wisely canceled her contract, but still didn’t get back all of her money.
In other instances, Rena Ware representatives also:
- Claimed their products could cure diabetes, heart disease, cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.
- Got into people’s homes by claiming to offer health and nutrition information, an opinion poll, or to repair their old cookware.
- Claimed tap water is unsafe for drinking and their water filters will reduce those health risks.
- Did not tell consumers they have the right to a 3-day cooling-off period to change their minds and cancel the order.
- Tried to intimidate consumers with harassing debt-collection notices.
If you are eligible for a refund, you will contacted by mail.
If you want to complain against Rena Ware or any other business, contact DCA:
Address: 500 W. Temple St. Room B-96 Los Angeles, CA 90012.
Phone: (800) 593-8222 or (213) 974-1452.