Mishawaka Allcare Dental patients receive refunds Created by jzimney on 1/18/2014 9:17:27 AM Pin It
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced this week that nearly 300 former Allcare Dental & Dentures patients received partial or total refunds.
In 2011, the national dental chain abruptly closed its locations in Mishawka, as well as Avon, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Lafayette and Muncie. Closures left patients without services, their dental devices or refunds. Zoeller said 294 consumers who filed complaints with the attorney general’s office and submitted a claim form recently received more than $543,360 total via the state’s Consumer Protection Assistance Fund.
Zoeller received a Consent Judgment last year against Allcare, but the company declared bankruptcy and consumer restitution was not paid. Those victims who received the CPAF payments reported losing more than $642,600 to Allcare – the average loss per person was about $2,100.
“Allcare’s actions were particularly egregious as customers were left in the dark and many paid thousands of dollars upfront for their dental procedures or dentures,” Zoeller said. "Thanks to the state Legislature for creating the Consumer Protection Assistance Fund, we were able to tap into it to make distributions to those harmed.”
Zoeller said patients’ losses ranged from $69 to $9,125, and the state was able to pay each victim the total amount owed up to $3,000 – which is the maximum allowed under the CPAF.
Many patients used a no-interest introductory rate healthcare credit card to finance their dentures and dental procedures. However, once Allcare closed patients were stuck with high interest-rate payments and left without their dentures or completed services. Zoeller said the company acted as a credit service organization, but failed to register with the attorney general’s office and file a $25,000 surety bond.
In 2011, the Indiana General Assembly successfully passed legislation creating the CPAF. The fund is made up of monies awarded to the state via judgments against companies caught violating consumer protection laws. Zoeller’s office can then use the funds to reimburse consumers in certain cases where judgments are granted, but restitution cannot be collected.
Bill authors included Rep. Woody Burton (Whiteland), former Rep. Jeb Bardon (Indianapolis), Rep. Randy Frye (Greensburg) and Rep Gail Riecken (Evansville). Senate sponsors included former Sen. Richard Bray (Martinsville), Sen. Tim Lanane (Anderson), Sen. Jim Banks (Columbia City) and Sen. Joe Zakas (Granger).
Former Allcare president, Robert Bates, surrendered his Indiana dental license last year after Zoeller’s office filed a licensing complaint against him for abruptly closing his business locations and abandoning patients. Bates also agreed to not reapply for a dental license in Indiana.