Pennsylvania AG Settles No-Call Violation With Long Distance Firm

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The Pennsylvania Attorney General's office made a $70,000 settlement in a lawsuit against Las Vegas-based U.S. Telecom Long Distance Inc., which it accused of violating the state's no-call law.

The settlement is the result of aggressive enforcement of the Pennsylvania no-call registry by the state Attorney General Mike Fisher, who has been a vocal proponent of the registry. Pennsylvania's do-not-call law went into effect Nov. 1, 2002, and the attorney general's office concluded its first enforcement action in February 2003.

According to the attorney general's office, the state received approximately 160 complaints from Pennsylvania residents about the company in December 2002. Most of the complaints came from the 610 area code in the vicinity of Philadelphia, the attorney general's office said.

U.S. Telecom also agreed to pay $5,000 for the state's investigation costs in additional to the penalty. The settlement is the largest fine assessed by the state under its no-call law to date.

According to the attorney general's office, the company told consumers it was exempt from the state no-call law because it was a utility registered out-of-state. Telemarketers also misrepresented themselves as affiliated with consumers' long-distance providers and failed to properly identify themselves, the attorney general's office said.

Under the settlement, U.S. Telecom admitted no wrongdoing. The company ceased telemarketing in Pennsylvania after learning of the complaints, the attorney general's office said.


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