Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Department of Justice - Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
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Attorney General Closes Down Texas Office Supply Company

December 18, 2000

Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that a Texas office supply company is out of business in Oregon after conducting misleading telephone sales. Named in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance filed today in Marion County Circuit Court are Chanse Martin Slater and his company Liberty Supply of Gainsville, Texas, which did business in Oregon as Star Business Systems.

"Oregon's small businesses are frequently scammed by telemarketers peddling office supplies over the telephone," Myers said. "If companies are going to telemarket in Oregon, they must be registered with the Oregon Department of Justice and they must conduct business honestly."

Department of Justice investigators received a complaint from Columbia Community Health Systems (CCHS) of St. Helens concerning a misleading telephone pitch from Star Business Systems to purchase office supplies. According to CCHS, an employee was coerced into ordering supplies that supposedly were discounted inventory from a failing Oregon business. When the order arrived it was from Texas, not Oregon, and contained many times more supplies than what Columbia had ordered.

Under the terms of the assurance, which admits no law violation, Liberty Supply agrees to not telemarket in the State of Oregon unless it is registered with the Department of Justice and pay $3,500 to the consumer protection education fund. The company also agreed to refund all monies paid to them by Oregon consumers or businesses for transactions made prior to the agreement date.

Attorney General Myers suggests the following tips when doing business over the telephone:

  • Most business telemarketing in the State of Oregon must register with the Oregon Department of Justice. Call the Attorney General's consumer hotline to check on registration and consumer complaints before making transactions.
  • Authorize one person to oversee or order supplies and clearly identify that person for all employees.
  • Document all purchases and double check documentation before paying bills.
  • Train staff to recognize misleading sales pitches. Telemarketers oftentimes seek out unsuspecting support staff to pressure into authorizing orders.
  • Some unlawful companies ship orders to businesses assuring them that someone has authorized the purchase. Businesses receiving unauthorized supplies or bills for services not ordered should not pay and should not return the merchandise. Federal law allows business or consumers to consider unordered merchandise as gifts.

Businesses wanting information about office supply scams may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Copies of the Federal Trade Commission's booklet on "Avoiding Office Supply Scams" are available from the FTC's web site at www.ftc.gov.

Contact:

Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) jan.margosian@doj.state.or.us |
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