NEWARK (CN) – iBasis targets immigrants, poor people and the elderly by selling prepaid telephone calling cards through deception, then deducting as much as half of the minutes they believe they are purchasing in unadvertised “maintenance fees, network maintenance charges, daily maintenance charges, destination surcharges, connection fees” and other ruses, according to a federal class-action complaint.
“iBasis leads consumers into believing they’re buying calling times when purchasing its Prepaid Calling Cards, when in reality Plaintiff and Class Members only receive a fraction of the calling time they reasonably expect,” the complaint states.
“Prepaid calling cards are particularly popular among new immigrants, and other low-income consumers who are least able to afford or qualify for conventional telephone service,” the complaint states. “Because so many immigrants arrive without well developed English skills and without any knowledge of the U.S. legal system, they are easy targets for deceptive and unfair acts or practices in marketing calling cards. … They are sold at retail locations and newsstands and marketed to appeal to ethnic and elderly populations in New Jersey and nationwide.”