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Calling card companies agree to pay up

Date: 3/18/2009 12:01:47 PM

The Division of Consumer Affairs today announced seven providers have agreed to a settlement with the state regarding the sale and advertising of prepaid calling cards. The division investigated the companies’ business practices concerning consumers getting the full amount of calling time for which they paid.

IDT Corp. in Newark Locus Telecommunications Inc. in Englewood Cliffs CVT Prepaid Solutions Inc. in Great Neck, N.Y. Dollar Phone Enterprises Inc. in Brooklyn, N.Y. Epana Networks Inc. in New York STi PhoneCard Inc. in Flushing, N.Y. and Total Call International Inc. in Los Angeles all settled with the state.

Each company will pay $5,000 to DCA for the costs of the investigation. Six of the companies will pay an additional $5,000 annually for the next three years to cover the costs of state monitoring of their businesses. CVT will not pay the additional fees, as the company no longer sells prepaid calling cards.

“These settlements ensure that the terms governing the use of calling cards are clearly and plainly disclosed to consumers,” Attorney General Anne Milgram said in a statement.

The companies must also adhere to state regulations that include disclosing all fees on the calling card packaging and advertising. The companies must also clearly disclose policies for rounding off phone time for billing purposes.

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