The Center for Consumer Law under the direction of Associate Dean Richard Alderman will receive $100,000 under terms of a $4.85 million deceptive trade practices settlement with Conn’s Inc., a Beaumont-based appliance chain. Alderman praised Robert Johnson, associate director of the center, for flagging state officials on Conn’s practices in Texas. Under terms of the settlement, Conn’s will pay $4.5 million to a customer restitution fund and $250,000 in attorneys’ fees in addition to the payment to the Center for Consumer Law. Alderman said the windfall will help support the Texas Consumer Complaint Center at the Law Center, which is directed by David Tiede.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott alleged that Conn's relied on aggressive, deceptive sales tactics to sell extended service warranties for appliances and electronics. In a statement issued by Conn's after the settlement, Conn’s Chairman William Nylin said the company continues to deny the allegations but will change the way it discloses warranty terms to its customers.
Alderman said the Texas Consumer Complaint Center, which was established with the help of an earlier award arranged by the attorney general, has helped consumers save more than $2 million since its inception nearly four years ago.