HACKENSACK, N.J. (CN) - A class action accuses Yellowpages.com and its corporate parent AT&T of selling ads through an "appalling ... methodology" that "is akin to the age-old basic principles of extortion." Plaintiffs say defendants record telephone sales pitches and make customers agree to terms and conditions, without revealing what those terms and conditions are. If a customer refuses an ad when he finally gets a contract, "the consumer is informed that they are already under contract with Yellow Pages and cannot now void the contract," according to the complaint.
After submitting to the recorded sales pitch, the class claims, victims of the alleged scam get a 3-page document - "two of the pages are entitled 'Terms and Conditions for Internet Advertising'. These two pages of terms is [sic] in all small print and states, most interestingly, that the term of the contract commended upon the oral acquiescence of the consumer while the consumer was speaking with the representative.
"When a consumer refuses to sign the contract and does not wish to proceed with the advertising with Yellow Pages, the consumer is informed that they are already under contract with Yellow Pages and cannot now void the contract. Yellow Pages grounds this premise on their reliance on the oral representation of the consumer."
But the class claims in Bergen County Court that this "scenario" is illegal, as the consumer "is not privy to many material terms that suddenly appear in the documents that are sent to the consumer but never stated to the consumer on the phone," that "the consumer never agreed to an actual price term" or even know what it is until (s)he sees the contract.
The class demands treble damages for fraud and unjust enrichment, rescission of contracts and an injunction. It is represented Paul Perkins with the Lynch Law Firm of Paramus.
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