Saturday, 2:15 PM
State reaches settlement in business listings case
By Michael Naughton, Globe Correspondent
The state will receive more than $16,000 in a settlement with an online "yellow page" listings service that scammed customers in 25 states, Attorney General Martha Coakley's office has announced.
Directory Billing LLC, which operated under USDirectory.com, "engaged in deceptive business practices" when it mailed checks to businesses that would automatically enroll and bill them for advertising plans, the attorney general's office said yesterday in a statement.
The checks were made payable to the businesses, usually in amounts of about $3, and fine print on the back of the check stated that by depositing it, the business agreed to buy advertising.
The company, which used the checks since 2004, would bill the businesses through telephone bills or through automatic debiting of the bank accounts into which the checks were deposited, according to the attorney general' office.
Some businesses were not aware they were being billed for the advertising for months. Directory Billing agreed to not use the checks again and to pay $400,000 to customers and the 25 states involved in the settlement. No one was available to comment at USDirectory.com's offices this evening.
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