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[ATG] AG Zoeller settles with Aspen Dental Management, Inc. over allegations of deceptive advertising, unfair tactics
Start Date: 10/22/2015Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 10/22/2015
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Attorney General’s Office reached a settlement agreement today with Aspen Dental Management, Inc. resolving allegations that the national company used deceptive advertising and other unfair tactics to promote services at Aspen Dental branded practices in Indiana.

Under the settlement filed in Marion County Circuit Court today, affected customers will receive a total $15,000 in restitution and the company agrees to reform its advertising techniques, which they began to do over the past year following the Attorney General’s investigation.

Aspen Dental Management – based in New York – licenses the Aspen Dental brand name to independently owned and operated dental practices across the country, and provides these practices with business and administrative support, including marketing services and customer billing. In Indiana, 30 dental practices are licensed under the Aspen Dental brand. These practices are located in cities across the state, including Indianapolis, Greenwood, Kokomo, Marion, Warsaw, Fort Wayne, Muncie, Columbus and Richmond. The individual dental practices are not part of this settlement.

The Attorney General’s Office alleged that Aspen Dental Management marketed free or discounted denture consultations, dentures, initial exams and x-rays at Indiana practices without adequately disclosing limitations or qualifications for these offers. Additionally, these advertisements promoted interest-free payment plans through third-party creditors without adequately disclosing the limitations or qualifications of such lending agreements.

The Attorney General’s Office received 73 consumer complaints against Aspen Dental Management, Inc. based on these advertising-related allegations. Many of the complainants were over 60 years of age.

“Misleading customers about the true cost of dental services is deceptive and unlawful, and this behavior placed unanticipated financial burden on Hoosiers, many of which were senior citizens,” Zoeller said. “Today’s settlement will protect customers of Aspen Dental branded practices in Indiana and help ensure they have full information before making decisions about costly procedures.”

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Aspen is required to fully disclose the terms and limitations of its advertised promotions, stop advertising products or services as “free” that are not, and provide training to employees at its affiliate dental clinics in Indiana on terms and conditions of third-party credit agreements so that full information is passed on to consumers.

Additionally, Aspen must pay $95,000 to the State, $15,000 of which will be used to repay affected consumers with the rest going toward state investigative costs and future consumer protection enforcement. Consumers who previously filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Office related to these advertising allegations and who did not previously receive restitution from Aspen Dental Management will be offered restitution. Consumers receiving restitution will be contacted by the Attorney General’s Office within 30 days from the date the court approves the settlement.

Contact Information:
Name: Molly Gillaspie
Phone: 317.232.0168
Email: molly.gillaspie@atg.in.gov
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Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • IN.gov Category:
  • Government
  • Residents
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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