30 Jun DOJ settles consumer case against California Internet service provider
Madison, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Justice announced that it has settled a consumer protection lawsuit against Radical Persson, Inc., a California corporation, and its owner and operator, Lars Persson, of Huntington Beach.
The defendants were accused of misleading consumers while selling Internet services to small businesses under the names eChurch Network and ILab Technologies, according to the department.
The case also was investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection.
“Under Wisconsin law, there is a price to pay for charging others for services they did not ask for,” Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen in a statement issued by DOJ. “The defendants are paying that price now.”
The lawsuit claimed the company’s telemarketers, under Persson’s direction, made misleading representations to solicit businesses to purchase its Internet-related services. The telemarketers enrolled nearly 600 Wisconsin businesses as customers even though they did not authorize the purchase of the company’s services.
Since August 2003, the DOJ said Wisconsin businesses were charged for at least $199,000 in services.
Under the settlement reached with Radical Persson and Lars Persson, the state was awarded a $100,000 judgment. The judgment includes forfeitures, restitution to injured businesses, and reimbursement of the state’s costs of investigating and prosecuting the case.
Defendants are prohibited from engaging in direct marketing activities in Wisconsin for eight years.
According to the suit, Radical Persson contracted with ILD Telecommunications to collect the charges. As a billing aggregator, ILD had the ability to place charges on customers’ telephone bills for collection by the customer’s telephone company.
The state previously reached a settlement with ILD, requiring it to employ practices designed to detect and prevent “cramming,” which is the placement of unauthorized charges on consumers’ telephone bills.
The settlement was approved by Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan.