Middletown firm, attorney general settle consumer protection suit for $1 million

MIDDLETOWN — Attorney General William Tong and Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull filed a $5 million stipulation judgment against Safe Home Security and its president David Roman after the city-based company repeatedly failed over many years to comply with court-ordered consumer protection measures, according to a press release.

The new judgment stipulation filed March 8 represents a settlement between the state and Safe Home to resolve claims brought by the state in its motion for contempt, Tong said in the news release.

“Families turned to Safe Home Security to safeguard their homes, and the company failed them,” Tong said in a prepared statement. “We have heard from hundreds of angry consumers who were locked into bad contracts and left with broken and poorly installed equipment.”

“The attorney general’s statement about Safe Home is inaccurate,” firm attorney Joseph Lipari said in an email Wednesday. “Safe Home had meritorious defenses to the attorney general’s disputed claims and allegations.”

When it is entered by the court, the judgment will require Safe Home Security to pay $1 million within 10 months, with the remaining $4 million suspending pending their compliance with the judgment., Tong said in the news release.

“There was no finding of liability or wrongdoing, and Safe Home simply settled its suit with the attorney general as a business decision, and in order to avoid protracted litigation,” Lipari added. “Safe Home is a highly respected company with satisfied customers across the country.”

“Safe Home Security promised to do the right thing in 2014, but their bad business practices never improved,” Tong said in the news release. “We returned to court to secure this $5 million penalty to force Safe Home Security to do the right thing, to follow the law, and to provide their customers with the functioning security systems and reliable customer service they deserve.”

The attorney general’s office initiated the lawsuit in 2007 after numerous complaints about the security company, it said.

Consumers said the alarm and monitoring systems were often defective or negligently installed, that technicians were not regularly available and missed appointments, and that long-term contracts did not comply with Connecticut law, and were renewed automatically without giving consumers an opportunity to cancel the contract, Tong said.

The state reached a settlement with the company in 2014, requiring $30,000 in customer restitution and a $70,000 civil penalty to the state. It also required injunctive provisions relating to firm’s compliance with auto-renewal statutes, debt collection statutes, and those relating to companies engaged in the residential alarm business, the release said.

However, the statement said, the state continued to receive hundreds of complaints about the company’s business practices.

The Office of the Attorney General filed a motion for contempt in 2019. It claimed the company continued to block consumers from terminating long-term contracts, misrepresented the terms of contracts to consumers, charged consumers for services when their alarm systems weren’t working, and other conduct, according to the statement.