Canadian Telemarketer Pays $20,000 to PA

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A telemarketing firm facing accusations that its agents claimed to be firefighters in a charity fundraising campaign agreed to pay $20,000 to the Pennsylvania attorney general's office to settle the charges.

Xentel Inc., Calgary, Alberta, called consumers in Allentown, PA, in 1999 and southwest Pennsylvania this year to raise money for a state firefighters association, the attorney general's office said. In pitches, telephone agents made misleading claims, telling consumers they were firefighters from their local communities who needed money for safety programs, according to the charges.

Agents also claimed that money raised would go to a camp for children suffering from burns and made misleading claims about what part of the campaign proceeds would go to the association, the attorney general's office said.

Xentel will pay $14,000 to repay consumers, $3,000 in civil penalties and $3,000 to cover the state's investigation costs.

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