SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna's office announced an agreement on Friday with an Ontario, Calif.-based company that allegedly sent invoices to Washington companies for services it did not perform.
UST Development Inc., doing business as US-Telcom, allegedly sent legitimate looking invoices to a Seattle Jewish day school, a Sammamish Montessori school, a Spokane women's health clinic and Washington State University. The bills were for as much as $425. None of the entities receiving the bills ordered any services from US-Telecom, McKenna said.
While most of the businesses receiving the invoices didn't fall for them, Spokane Clinic sent a check after being told by a US-Telcom representative that the bill was for telephone maintenance and equipment. The check was cashed before the business realized the invoice was part of a scam.
Other businesses that received the invoices contacted state authorities and the Better Business Bureau, both of which subsequently issued warnings about US-Telcom.
US-Telcom allegedly violated the Consumer Protection Act's restriction on deceptive and unfair practices.
Under the terms of an assurance of discontinuance, US-Telcom agreed to stop soliciting using untrue, deceptive or misleading representations; soliciting payment from consumers for services or goods that they have not yet ordered; and selling, soliciting, advertising or offering to sell services or merchandise through mailings or other communications that could be interpreted to be an invoice, bill or statement of account due.
US-Telcom did not admit to the allegations as part of the agreement.