Attorney General Long Settles with Alyon
PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Larry Long announced today that his office is taking part in a multi-state settlement that will require two companies providing billing and collection services for some online adult Web sites to change the way they do business and make it more difficult for children to access those adult sites.
According to the agreement, consumers claimed they were billed $4.99 per minute by Alyon and Telcollect for access to adult Web sites they did not access and did not agree to purchase. In some cases, consumers said their children were exposed to or accessed the adult sites without permission, and the parents were later billed. Under most circumstances, contracts with minors are not enforceable.
"We have consumers who unknowingly downloaded costly internet services," said Long. "The service was so easily accessible that even children could gain access to adult websites with no authorization. This settlement emphasizes how important adult supervision is when our children are on the internet."
The Complaint filed by Long in August 2003 alleged the defendants would start billing consumers after unsuspecting adults, or minors without permission, opened pop-up windows or spam that automatically downloaded modem dialer software onto their computers. That software could then be used to dial up the Alyon billing gateway to access adult material. Alyon captured the phone number, matched it with a name and address, and then billed the consumers $4.99 per minute, allegedly without the consumers’ knowledge or consent. Alyon allegedly told consumers they owed the charges even when consumers denied having accessed or agreed to purchase the adult material. .
Under the multi-state settlement, Alyon Technologies, Inc., of Secaucus, New Jersey, Telcollect, Inc. of Norcross, Georgia, and Alyon CEO Stephane Touboul are required to make significant changes to their practices and to pay the 23 states $285,000.
Consumers who have questions about an Alyon bill can call the Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or email their concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.