Phone Crammers|Slapped on Wrist

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – Three companies must pay Missourians and Missouri more than $320,000 for cramming phone bills, the state attorney general said.
     The crammers are Coast to Coast Voice, of Concord, N.H.; Familycontact911.com, of Clearwater, Fla.; and Green Certification LLC, of Miami, Fla., Attorney General Chris Koster said in a statement.
     Crammers often get consumers’ information online through sweepstakes, drawings, and free offers or trials, Koster said. Having secured their suckers’ name, address, phone number, and birthday, companies enroll consumers in third-party content provider products or services billed monthly through the phone bill. Charges are masked, making it difficult for the victim to figure out what they are.
     According to Koster’s statement:
     Coast to Coast Voice will pay $35,303 in refunds to Missouri customers who did not consent to its $14.95 monthly charge. It will also pay $18,265 in restitution to the state, which Missouri will send to consumers who could not get refunds through their phone bills. Coast to Coast Voice also must to pay $15,000 to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Revolving Fund.
     Familycontact911.com must pay $180,972 to customers who were charged $15.95 per month on their phone bills. It also must pay Missouri $474.25 in restitution and $15,000 to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Revolving Fund.
     Green Certification must pay $60,727 to consumers who were charged $49.95 per month, $649.87 to Missouri, plus $3,000 in costs and $5,000 in civil penalties to the state.
     The businesses are also permanently barred from placing any more charges on consumers’ phone bills.

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