Van Hollen

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - The Wisconsin Department of Justice announced on Friday that it has obtained a judgment against a N.J.-based locksmith company that allegedly engaged in deceptive advertising in the state.

Prestige Business Solutions Inc., a corporation that operates a nationwide locksmith business under the name USA Locksmith, allegedly misrepresented to Wisconsin residents that it was calling a local locksmith when, in fact, the calls were going to New Jersey.

"Consumers should be aware that a popular tool of scam artists is the use of false local addresses and local phone numbers that forward calls out of state," Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said.

"We will not tolerate the blatantly deceptive practices engaged in by this locksmith company, and will continue to vigorously enforce our laws prohibiting false advertising."

The company allegedly used names associated with the local community, such as Racine Locksmith, Racine 24 Hour Emergency Locksmith, Racine 24 7 Available Locksmith, Racine Available Emergency Locksmith, Racine Anytime Anywhere Emergency Locksmith, Racine Always Available Emergency Locksmith, and Racine 24 Hour Locksmith.

Prestige also allegedly listed phony addresses for each business name, some at buildings that did not exist.

Furthermore, the company allegedly listed local numbers in its advertisements, which transferred the calls to an out-of-state call center that then dispatched a contract locksmith to perform the requested service.

Under terms of the judgment, Prestige is required to pay $59,930.60 to the state for costs associated with litigation, forfeitures and assessments. In addition, the judgment prohibits Prestige from continuing to use deceptive practices.

The judgment resolves an enforcement action brought by the state in Racine County Circuit Court. Prestige did not appear in court to defend the lawsuit and a default judgment was entered against them on Dec. 1.

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