NewsDenver7 | Investigates


Armstrong Steel denies allegation it offered refunds to customers who retracted statements to media

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Armstrong Steel Englewood Warehouse
Armstrong Statement
Posted at 9:45 PM, Dec 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-14 13:05:03-05

DENVER — Armstrong Steel is responding after customers revealed the Centennial-based building company offered thousands of dollars in refunds if those customers retracted previous statements to Denver7.

Denver7 Investigates first told Mai Samhouri's story in 2022, after she and dozens of others filed a class action lawsuit against Armstrong Steel alleging deceptive marketing, price hikes and delays. Last month, Samhouri received an email from Armstrong Steel offering a $4,200 refund if she sent a letter to Denver7 stating she was misrepresented and asking the story to be removed from circulation.

Samhouri said she refused to settle, and while she may never get her refund, she said some principles are worth more than money.

"It's basically a gag order. 'Take this money, be quiet, and send this lie to the news,'" said Samhouri. "And yeah, I could have gotten a couple thousand dollars back and who cares what it does to someone else's career? But I care. I'm not like them. I don't kick people down just to get a buck. That's not how I operate."

At least one other customer, who wished to remain anonymous, received a similar offer.

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Armstrong Steel customers offered refunds with unusual condition

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A spokesperson for Armstrong Steel did not respond to Denver7 Investigates' initial request for an interview or questions about the letters to Denver7 and refund settlement agreements.

In an initial statement, the spokesperson wrote in part, "We are aware of a small number of customers who became frustrated with pricing due to factors out of our control during the pandemic, such as escalated material and labor costs.” The statement adds that communication with customers ”never faltered” and that “no initial contract payment is ever made without services delivered.”

“While there is no class action lawsuit against Armstrong Steel, we are aware of a small number of customers who became frustrated with pricing due to factors out of our control during the pandemic, such as escalated material and labor costs. Despite these challenges, communications with our buyers never faltered during the difficult times we all endured. Customer satisfaction is our highest priority and though we have thousands of satisfied customers, we continue to work with those specific individuals to resolve all misunderstandings to the best of our ability.

We are always good stewards of our customers' money, and no initial contract payment is ever made without services delivered, which - for the first payment - typically includes engineering, detailing, approval/permit drawings, and the services of a project manager. 

 As a local business, we’re so proud to be part of the Denver community, and continue to help our clients create and build their dream properties.”

Following Denver7's story, a spokesperson with Armstrong Steel sent a new statement.

“Confidentiality prevents us from sharing settlement details, but we want to stress how vital Armstrong Steel's reputation is to our community. In the past year and a half, misinformation circulated, and we're committed to clearing it up. It's important to note that no class action has been certified, and the courts have sided with Armstrong Steel, deciding these claims were meritless. The truth and our client's trust are paramount to us, and we'd never ask a customer to retract an honest statement."

However, Jack McInnes, the attorney representing Armstrong customers in that class action, said court records show that is not what happened in court. He pointed out that the lawsuit was stayed pending the outcome of arbitration proceedings, per a judge's order.

McInnes said arbitration proceedings are just getting started and hearings will likely take place next year. If customers are not satisfied with the outcomes, they will continue to pursue the class action certification.

"I want the customers to know that the court most certainly did not decide that the claims of the customers were meritless. The court has yet to make any decision on the merits of the claims," said McInnes. "The fight isn't over yet. We're still getting contacted by customers of Armstrong Steel on a weekly basis. We're still fighting to bring Armstrong Steel's egregious conduct [to light] and bring justice for our clients, and we just hope that the public can see through these attempts to hide the facts and distort the truth here."

In a follow-up email, an Armstrong spokesperson wanted to clarify their initial statement, adding, "The judge has decided for Armstrong Steel by removing the individual claims to arbitration. In our opinion, if their efforts to certify the class action lawsuit had any merit, the judge would have certified it at that time."


Armstrong Steel addresses refund offers linked to retractions