For press inquiries or to schedule an interview with the Attorney General please contact:
503-378-6002 or Michael.C.Kron@doj.state.or.us
About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that a Springfield company that sold pre-paid phone cards with another company's toll-free number printed on the back must provide restitution or new cards to consumers requesting refunds. Named in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance filed today in Marion County Circuit Court is Norte.Com.Inc. The agreement admits no law violation.
"With the popularity of pre-paid phone cards increasing, so are the complaints against them," Myers said. "We have gone from zero to 48 complaints in two years with our Latino population reporting the most problems."
Thomas and Ann Taylor, owners of North Star Marine, Inc. of LaConner, Washington first alerted the Department of Justice to the problem. The Taylors were concerned about the number of distraught consumers who were attempting to use a pre-paid card to call family in Mexico but instead were reaching the Taylor's business. The Taylors reported receiving up to a dozen calls a day.
Justice received one consumer complaint but the problem also was reported by law enforcement in Caldwell, Idaho and Shelton, Washington. Two 800 numbers were printed on the cards, one that connected callers directly to Mexico and the Taylors' 800 number that was supposed to be used in calling from Mexico to the United States. The Taylors complained to the company but the calls continued.
Under the agreement, Norte.Com must obtain a new 800 number and within five working days of receiving a request, the company must provide either refunds or new cards to consumers.
Consumers wanting information on pre-paid telephone cards 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. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
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