The Ohio Attorney General is unholstering his legal six-shooter on an alleged Westlake, Ohio scalawag he says is ripping off on-line buyers of firearms accessories.
Mike DeWine is the marshal of the state's Attorney General's office and makes no bones about going after people he believes are violating Ohio's consumer protection laws. In this particular case it is an alleged violation of the Ohio Consumers Protection Act, details of the suit say.
Those laws fall under DeWine's purview and he'll cross east and west of Ohio's Pecos River (make that the Scioto River) to bring any alleged varmint to justice.
A lawsuit was filed today (Feb. 21) in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court by DeWine against Westlake, Ohio-based Midwest Retail, LLC and its owner, Chad Bowerman of Lorain, Ohio.
Midwest Retail does business as StormLake Tactical, which sells products related to shooting, reloading and gunsmithing, DeWine said in an official press release.
Among the items found on StormLake Tactical's website are ammunition, shotgun barrels, optics, knives, handgun safes, blackpowder accessories, range bags, and gun-cleaning supplies.
Also on the firm's website under “about us” the company says “The business has grown and now serves the general public, military personnel. Security professionals, police officers, firemen, gun enthusiasts and anyone and everyone that enjoys shooting and tactical products.
“Here at StormLake Tactical, we pride ourselves in great customer service, great prices, and fast shipping. What else could a customer want?...”
It is important to note that StormLake Tactical is not to be confused with Las Vegas-based Storm Tactical nor Storm Tactical and Self Defense of Lombard, Ill.
DeWine charges that the firm and Bowerman have failed to deliver products ordered by customers, a violation of Ohio's consumer protection laws
The Attorney General says he has received complaints from 14 consumers with reported losses totaling more than $2,900.
In their complaints, the 14 consumers allege they paid Bowerman's business for products but never received the ordered goods.
“Businesses have an obligation to fulfill their promises to consumers,” DeWine said. “They can't simply take money and then fail to either deliver the goods or provide a refund.”
Thus DeWine's lawsuit seeks both restitution for the affected consumers as well as “... an end to these practices.”
Civil penalties are being sought also, DeWine says, with details in the five-page suit seeking $25,000 “for each separate and appropriate violation described herein.”
And as his custom when announcing lawsuits being filed against businesses that allegedly stiff consumers, DeWine always cautions how “buyers beware.”
Always research a businesses' reputation before ordering products or services. This process can include checking for any complaints that may be on file with the Ohio Attorney General's office or the Better Business Bureau, DeWine says.
And for any consumer who believes he or she has become a victim of an unfair business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General at 800-282-0515 or visit the agency's web site at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn