Collect-Call Telemarketer to Refund Consumers

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A company that provided an operator service enabling telemarketers to call consumers collect will issue refunds to Pennsylvania residents who paid fees in the scheme, the Pennsylvania attorney general's office said yesterday.

Talk Too Me LLC, Sarasota, FL, provided an operator service known as "00 Operator Services" that let American Directory Services Inc. place collect calls to small businesses, the attorney general said. As a result, 3,500 consumers received a bill marked "FINAL NOTICE" for $28.84 each, though only 459 paid.

Consumers said they accepted the calls, thinking they were from a family member or friend, and later paid due to the threat of collection, according to the attorney general. The calls, which originated from ADSI's Las Cruces, NM, phone room, occurred between August and November 2002 and pitched Internet directory listing services.

Talk Too Me will repay the fees paid by consumers in addition to $2,500 in civil penalties and investigation costs.

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