Nearly 300 former patients of a national dental chain that closed Indiana locations without notice in 2011 will receive partial or total refunds, Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement Thursday.
Allcare Dental & Dentures closed locations in Avon, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Lafayette, Mishawaka and Muncie, and 294 customers filed complaints with the AG’s office claiming they lost $69 to $9,125. Zoeller said the average loss per claim was $2,100.
The Consumer Protection Assistance Fund, enacted in 2011, will provide $543,360 to reimburse consumers who reported losses totaling more than $642,600, according to the AG’s statement.
The fund contains money awarded to the state in judgments against companies that violate consumer protection laws. Money in the fund can reimburse individuals up to $3,000 in some cases where judgments are granted but restitution cannot be collected. After the state received a consent judgment against Allcare, the company declared bankruptcy.
The statement says many patients used a health care credit card to finance dentures and dental procedures, but when Allcare closed, patients were stuck with high interest-rate payments and left without dentures or completed services. Zoeller said the company acted as a credit service organization, but failed to register with the AG’s office and file a $25,000 surety bond.
“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.”