CHARLESTON – A Clendenin couple has filed suit against a Charleston dental company, two of its dentists and credit agencies, claiming the dentists led a woman into believing she was receiving free veneers when in fact she was signing a credit application to pay for them.
Ollie Mae and Jerry Dustin claim Ollie visited Simpson Dental on Sept. 4, 2007, for a teeth cleaning, according to the complaint filed Nov. 14 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
While Ollie was still in the chair getting her teeth cleaned, dentists at Simpson Dental told her she needed veneers, which would cost about $5,000, the suit states.
After Ollie told the dentists she did not want and could not afford the veneers, the dentists told her they were necessary and that something could be done so she would not have to pay for them, she claims.
"As a result, the Simpson Dental Defendants immediately, coercively, unscrupulously and deceptively presented Plaintiff Mrs. Dustin with a document to sign, directing her to sign the same immediately, while still in the dental chair being worked on, which would enable her, as she was told, to receive the veneers and the veneer procedure for free," the suit states. "Based on the representations of the Simpson Dental Defendants, Plaintiff Mrs. Dustin, while still in the dental chair and undergoing dental treatment, executed the aforesaid document with the belief that doing so would enable her to receive the veneers for free."
However, Ollie actually had signed a credit application to receive a $6,000 credit limit provided by GE/CareCredit, according to the complaint.
The veneers ended up costing Ollie $5,040, which she was forced to pay for through the credit account, she claims.
"Neither the Simpson Dental Defendants nor the GE/CareCredit Defendants explained the true nature of this transaction to Plaintiff Mrs. Dustin prior to or at the time it occurred," the suit states.
The Dustins claim Simpson Dental receives money from GE/CareCredit for their dental services and turn over the debt to the credit company, who has to collect the money from people such as Ollie.
Ollie was not aware of her debt until she received a bill from CareCredit in November 2007, according to the complaint.
"Since that time, Plaintiffs have been repeatedly contacted and harassed by the GE/CareCredit Defendants regarding payment on the account, and at this time are facing collection activities," the suit states.
The Dustins claim Simpson Dental and GE/CareCredit violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act because they advertised goods with the intent not to sell them as advertised, engaged in confusing conduct and employed fraud, deception, false pretense when they induced Ollie to enter into the credit agreement.
In the three-count suit, the Dustins are seeking a declaration that Simpson Dental's and GE/CareCredit's actions are illegal.
In addition, the Dustins are seeking compensatory damages compensating them for harm, unspecified equitable relief and punitive damages, plus prejudgment and post-judgment interest, attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.
They are represented by Harry F. Bell, William L. Bands and Tim J. Yianne of Bell and Bands in Charleston and by Charles R. Webb in Charleston.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 08-C-3155