McGraw reminds consumers to grab a piece of settlement

John O'Brien Jan. 11, 2007, 10:58am


CHARLESTON - West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw is reminding small businesses and consumers that they can still submit claims against YP Corp., a company with which McGraw and 33 other attorneys general recently settled.

This is despite the fact that YP Corp., as part of the terms of the settlement, agreed to contact customers itself.

The states alleged that since 2003, has been sending businesses and other organizations "live" activation checks in the mail for a small amount, usually around $3.50.

When the business cashed this check, the fine print on the back provided that it was agreeing to pay for advertising on in its on-line yellow pages directory and that YP Corp. was entitled to collect a monthly fee that usually ranged from $27.50-$39.95, McGraw says.

He adds that the fee was sometimes charged to the organization's phone bill, and that others had their bank accounts charged.

"In some of these cases, the check recipient remained unaware that it was being billed by for several months, if not years, after depositing the check," a release says.

YP Corp. agreed to pay $2 million to the states, collectively, to be used as restitution. customers who were being billed as of December of 2006 through their telephone bill or bank account for a listing, and became customers by depositing an activation check, were contacted by during the last two months by letter with a refund offer.

Also, on Dec. 29, McGraw announced a settlement with repossession agent Blaine Ash, doing business as Mountain State Asset Recovery and Transport.

Pursuant to terms of the settlement, Mountain State Asset Recovery and Transport will stop imposing fees on consumers for retrieving personal property from their repossessed vehicles.

McGraw's investigation started when a consumer claimed the business attempted to charge a $65 personal property fee before allowing him to recover his things from his repossessed vehicle.

A release from McGraw's office says "any actions (repossession agents) take to assume control over the goods or deprive the consumer of possession of them is an unfair or deceptive act or practice."

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