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Telemarketer Settles with Attorney General

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

November 6, 2009

Commonwealth Marketing Group, Inc. (“CMG”), a Uniontown, Pennsylvania, company, has entered into a settlement with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office under which the company will refund over $19,000 to 166 Vermonters and pay the State $20,000 to settle claims that it sold limited-use shopping credit cards over the telephone without complying with Vermont’s right-to-cancel requirements.

CMG offered “shopping cards” and discount programs under the names “USA Credit” and “USA Benefits.” The company marketed the cards using descriptions such as the “USA Credit Platinum shopping card with a $7,500 initial credit line and 0% interest on purchases.” The cards could be used only to buy merchandise offered through CMG (for instance, CMG’s “USA Shopping Club”), but not otherwise. CMG sold its shopping cards and discount programs to Vermonters both on the Internet and, starting around 2004, through telemarketing.

Vermont law requires companies that sell goods or services over the telephone to offer consumers a three-business-day right to cancel, and to disclose that right on the phone and in detail in writing. However, CMG did not provide its Vermont customers with the required disclosures. As a result, its settlement with the Attorney General’s Office requires full refunds to all of its telemarketing customers, as well as the payment of $20,000 in civil penalties to the State.

For more information on the settlement, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program at (800) 649-2424.

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