CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office has started the process of distributing more than $235,000 to consumers victimized by a kitchen hardware manufacturing and sales company.
NuWave, LLC, formerly known as Hearthware, LLC, manufactures cookware and kitchen hardware, selling to consumers primarily through telemarketing — sometimes done through outside vendors. The AG's office alleged neither NuWave nor its vendors were registered and bonded as telemarketers with the West Virginia Tax Department, which is a violation of the state’s consumer protection law and telemarketing act
“As soon as a business misrepresents itself, consumer protection issues arise,” Morrisey said. “I’m glad to see hardworking West Virginians recoup some of what was taken. This hopefully sends a message that all businesses must comply with our state’s consumer protection laws.”
Morrisey's office reached a $320,000 settlement with NuWave. The majority of those funds go to restitution for 5,437 affected consumers, who should receive their checks in the next several weeks.
Originally filed in 2015 in Kanawha Circuit Court, the lawsuit alleged NuWave used high-pressure sales pitches and deceptive “buy one, get one free” offers on a particular kitchen hardware product.
While the second item in the promotion was offered at no cost, NuWave allegedly raised shipping and processing fees, effectively making consumers pay for their “free” item. The buy one, get one sale was allegedly misrepresented as a short-term special offer, a tactic used to pressure consumers into making a purchase.
The settlement terms included NuWave’s agreement to refrain from the use of high shipping and processing fees or other hidden fees for “free” items in buy one get one offers for West Virginia consumers.