SEATTLE (Legal Newsline)- A New York-based company offering face-to-face solicitors for hire has been charged with not being legally registered to solicit charitable contributions in Washington state.
Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna's Consumer Protection Division filed a complaint against Dialogue Direct, Inc., on Thursday after receiving a series of complaints about them and learning from staff members from the AG's office that they had been approached by DDI solicitors.
McKenna also accuses DDI of failing to make legally required disclosures to potential contributors and giving the strong impression that its paid solicitors are volunteers or employees of a registered charitable organization working on behalf of children.
"The state has pretty clear rules for anyone who wants to raise money for charity: tell people who you work for, where your operation is based and who they can call to make sure you're on the up-and-up," said Assistant Attorney General Shannon Smith.
"Dialogue Direct is breaking those rules and misleading those who might think they're supporting a worthy cause."
Smith added that the attorney general employees noticed that the supposed charitable fundraisers were not clearly providing the Secretary of State's Office contact information as required by laws governing solicitors, and that led to an investigation.
The attorney general's office has asked King County Superior Court to declare that DDI violated the state's Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices, and violated the state's Charitable Solicitations Act.
It's also asking for a permanent injunction preventing DDI from engaging in unlawful conduct, and for civil penalties of up to $2,000 per violation.