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Four Companies That Charged Vermonters’ Phone Bills Settle With Attorney General

CONTACT: Elliot Burg, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5507

May 14, 2012

Four companies that charged hundreds of local consumers and businesses on their telephone bills for services, that many of the affected Vermonters say they did not authorize, have entered into settlements with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. This brings to 21 the number of such settlements since mid-March of 2011. Under the settlements, the four companies will return a total of over $230,000 to more than 1,300 Vermont consumers and businesses; any money that cannot be refunded will go into the State’s unclaimed property fund.

Attorney General William H. Sorrell said that over the past year and a half, his Office has been cracking down on “cramming,” or the placing of unauthorized or inadequately-noticed charges on local telephone bills. According to Attorney General Sorrell, “placing most third-party charges on local phone bills is now banned outright in Vermont, but we’re continuing to insist that companies refund past losses to innocent consumers and businesses.”

Two of the companies—Bizzfinders.com, LLC, of Pleasantville, New Jersey, and Ebizz, LLC, of Clifton, New Jersey—together billed more than 500 Vermont businesses over $150,000 for website support and related services. The other two companies—Member’s Edge, LLC, of Teaneck, New Jersey, and Residential Voice Mail, Inc., of Southampton, New York— each charged tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of Vermont consumers for email and/or voice mail services. Each company will pay the State of Vermont $10,000 in penalties and costs.

According to documents filed in the four cases, the Attorney General’s Office also alleged that Bizzfinders, Ebizz and Residential Voice Mail used deceptive marketing techniques.

To date, the Attorney General’s 21 settlements have returned more than $1.4 million to over 12,000 Vermont consumers and businesses.

For more information on the settlements, call the Attorney General’s Office at (802) 828-5507.

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.