McCollum subpoenaing calling card companies

John O'Brien Jul. 23, 2007, 3:00pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is worried about marketing tactics in the prepaid calling card industry and has launched an investigation.

McCollum says he is trying to determine if advertisements are making fraudulent statements concerning the number of minutes provided on calling cards.

"Calling cards make it possible for our citizens to maintain essential lines of communication with their family and loved ones," McCollum said. "I am deeply concerned about the fraudulent behavior alleged in this industry and my office will aggressively address this issue on behalf of our state's residents and guests."

Subpoenas were served to 10 companies. They are: CVT Prepaid Solutions, Inc.; Blackstone Calling Card, Inc.; Alternatel, Inc.; Prima Communications, Inc., also known as PCI; Cinco Telecom Corp., doing business as Orbitel; Cristel Telecom, LLC; STi Prepaid, LLC, doing business as STi; Union Telecard Alliance, LLC, also known as UTA; IDT America, Corp, also known as IDT; and Total Call International, Inc., also known as Total Call Mobile, Inc.

McCollum says a particular focus of the investigation concerns the marketing of calling cards to individuals who don't speak English.

Also, he is looking into allegations that state immediately after the first call is made on a card, companies begin imposing various fees, service charges and taxes. Also, allegations say call times are rounded up in three-minute increments.

McCollum says these terms are sometimes disclosed only in English on Spanish language posters and cards.

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