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DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SETTLES LAWSUIT AGAINST FLORIDA BILLING COMPANY, ILD TELECOMMUNICATIONS, INC.

 

Lawsuit Alleges Improper Billing Of Telephone Customers On Behalf of Radical Persson, Inc., a California Corporation, And Its Owner, Lars Persson.

 

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Justice has settled a consumer protection lawsuit against a Florida-based billing aggregator, ILD Telecommunications, Inc., for its role in placing charges on the telephone bills of Wisconsin businesses for services that the State alleges either were not authorized or that were obtained through deceptive telemarketing practices by Radical Persson, Inc., a California corporation.

 

In its suit, the State alleges that using the names the "EChurch Network," and "ILab Technologies," Radical Persson, Inc. marketed internet services to small businesses, including internet access, website hosting and internet advertising. To collect the charges, EChurch and ILab contracted with ILD, which as a billing aggregator has the ability to place charges on customers' telephone bills for collection by the customer's telephone company.

 

Under the terms of the settlement, ILD has agreed to institute practices designed to detect and prevent "cramming," or the placement of unauthorized charges on consumers' telephone bills. Among other things, ILD must do the following:

 

  • thoroughly screen and monitor new clients;
  • institute a six-month "probation" period for new clients, during which ILD must handle all customer inquiries rather than routing them to the client;
  • enhance its capabilities and systems for logging and tracking cramming complaints, and require its supervisors to regularly monitor cramming complaints to identify problem clients;
  • compel corrective action when more than 1% of a merchant's customers in a given month complain of cramming;
  • terminate a merchant as a client if cramming complaints exceed 1% for three months in any six-month period;
  • provide refunds or credits when a customer complains of cramming; and
  • promptly refund the payments made by consumers who have filed complaints with the State.

 

The suit, filed at the request of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, continues against the California telemarketing company Radical Persson, Inc. and its owner, Lars Persson. Trial is scheduled for July 2008.

 

The judgment was signed by Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan.

 

The State is represented in the suit by Assistant Attorney General John Greene.