N.J. locksmith sued by Wis. AG for fraudulent advertising

Ashton Daigle Jun. 16, 2010, 3:15pm

Van Hollen

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) -- Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says the Department of Justice has filed an enforcement action against Prestige Business Solutions, a New Jersey corporation running a locksmith service under the name USA Locksmith.

Van Hollen says Prestige operates no business locations in Wisconsin, yet still contracts with locksmiths to handle service calls processed by the company's out-of-state call center.

Van Hollen also alleges that Prestige engaged in deceptive advertising to create the illusion that customers were calling a local locksmith. Prestige did this in several ways, including using numerous business names that reference local communities, such as Racine Locksmith and Racine 24 Hour Locksmith.

The action also alleges that the company used phony addresses for each business name that either belonged to other businesses or were locations where no buildings existed. Local telephone numbers were listed for business names Prestige advertised, but calls were transferred, unbeknownst to the caller, to Prestige's out-of-state call center.

"We will not tolerate such dishonesty in advertising, and my office will continue to work towards ensuring that Wisconsin consumers are not mislead about products and services being marketed to them," Van Hollen said.

Van Hollen's enforcement action requests that the court impose forfeitures against the defendants for violations of Wisconsin's fraudulent advertising statute and to order the defendants to halt their fraudulent advertising.

The enforcement action is the result of a joint investigation by the Department of Justice and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.

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