Business Insider UK has learned that a Texas air conditioner supplier has been forced to pay at least $1.2bn in damages to customers following a government investigation into a fatal air conditioning leak.
The company, called Air Conditioning Inc., was taken over by a consortium of investors who were concerned that the company’s owners had not been properly vetted by the US Department of Justice and that the owners of the company, an Irish company called Aircon, had been using “unauthorized, unlicensed and deceptive conduct” to mislead the public about its air conditioning technology, according to a statement from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The investigation found that Air Conditioner Inc. “lied to the public” and misled investors by misrepresenting that it could reduce temperatures in the home by up to 40 degrees Celsius, Paxton said in a statement.
The Texas Attorney Generals office announced that it has filed criminal charges against the Air Conditioners owners.
The company was also ordered to take steps to ensure that it will not re-open after it was taken private by the new owners.
The announcement was made on Monday at the company headquarters in Austin, Texas, the company confirmed to Business Insider.
It did not immediately respond to questions about how much the settlement will be paid.
Air Conditioner and Aircon are part of a large global industry that has been growing rapidly in recent years, particularly in the United States.
The US has a strong air conditioners industry, but is one of only two countries in the world that does not regulate air conditionings and has been criticized by other countries for not requiring manufacturers to test for and report on harmful emissions, like those from industrial smokestacks.
Companies that sell air condition units in the US and overseas are regulated under the Clean Air Act, which requires them to meet stringent standards and is aimed at improving air quality.
However, a lack of testing and enforcement in some parts of the US has made the air condition industry difficult to regulate and is blamed for the rising number of air quality related deaths and illnesses.
“Air Conditioning is a complex product that is regulated in all 50 states, but many states have not required air condition companies to test the equipment they sell,” Paxton’s office said in the statement.
“Texas’s air condition market is growing, but the air conditioning industry continues to face regulatory and compliance challenges that we are working to address.”
Paxton has said that his office will review the Aircon case “to determine whether the defendants should be held accountable for the harm they caused customers and the environment.”
Air Conditioners have been a hot topic in the past year, with several states and local governments demanding stricter testing requirements and tougher regulations for the equipment.
In October, President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring manufacturers of air conditionors and related equipment to conduct air quality testing.
Trump has also said that air condition and energy efficiency products will need to be banned in certain areas of the country.