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Lawsuit Alleges Company's Solicitations Inviting Consumers To Attend Internet Marketing Workshops Violated Wisconsin Consumer Laws


MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Justice has filed and settled a consumer protection lawsuit against two Delaware corporations - iMergent, Inc. and StoresOnline, Inc. - which sell internet marketing software and commercial website services throughout the United States, under the name StoresOnline.


StoresOnline markets its products and services through workshops and seminars. According to the lawsuit, StoresOnline's solicitations have violated Wisconsin law by failing to identify StoresOnline as the entity offering the products and services, instead using fictitious business names. They further violated Wisconsin law by failing to disclose that the purpose of the workshops was to sell internet-related software and services.


Under Wisconsin's law regulating direct marketing and mail solicitations, entities are required to disclose the name of the principal seller, identify that they are offering for sale a good or a service, and identify the nature of the goods or services for sale. The law also prohibits the use of fictitious names which can confuse or mislead the seller's true identity.


Under the terms of the settlement, iMergent, Inc. and StoresOnline, Inc. must pay the State $50,000 in forfeitures, penalty assessments, and investigative costs. The companies also must disclose in its solicitations the identity of the seller, the purpose of the solicitations, and the nature of the goods and services being offered. In addition, they must provide a notice cautioning prospective purchasers that they should not attempt to establish a web-based business if they lack basic computer skills or a viable business to market on the internet.


The settlement was approved by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Colas. Assistant Attorney General John Greene prosecuted the case. The case was investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection.