MONTPELIER, Vt. (Legal Newsline) – Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell announced a $200,000 settlement on Monday with a Texas billing company that allegedly violated a state law meant to protect Vermonters from unauthorized telephone bill charges.
Sorrell sued Enhanced Services Billing Inc. (ESBI) in May after the company allegedly facilitated cramming by Localbizusa, a seller of web services. Localbizusa allegedly signed up Vermont businesses for web services without their permission, failed to provide legally-required billing and cancellation disclosures and used a deceptive telemarketing script. ESBI allegedly arranged for the charges to be placed on local telephone bills, failed to ensure businesses were alerted they would be charged on their phone bills and facilitated the Localbizusa charges.
“(The settlement is) the most recent development in an initiative launched several years ago to end landline cramming in Vermont, which has led to refunds to Vermonters of over $2.5 million and passage by the Vermont Legislature of the strictest anti-cramming law in the United States,” Sorrell said.
Under the terms of a stipulation and consent order, ESBI must pay $75,000 in business refunds and $125,000 to the state. ESBI will send refund checks to the impacted Vermont businesses. Checks that cannot be paid will be turned over to the Vermont unclaimed property fund.