Attorney General Sues A Washington SEO Firm
An attorney general is suing a Redmond-based e-commerce service providing company, which had faltered on its promises of bringing up Web Traffic for a number of small businesses, driving many customers to file complaints.
Attorney General Rob McKenna reportedly stated that, “When it comes to Internet search results, every small business wants to pull a high ranking. Merchants hoping to increase their online sales paid thousands of dollars to Visible.net and Captures.com but didn’t always receive the top listings and other services they were promised.”
The lawsuit was filed on the 12th of November, 2008, in the King County Superior Court and it accuses of Visible.net, Captures.com and their owner, Gilbert Walker, of violating the state consumer protection and telemarketing laws.
The website, ‘Webmarketingsource.com’, is also owned by the same and the services provided under these banners include Website designing, Search Optimization, E-commerce services and other Internet Marketing services. The defendants promote these services through their above-listed websites and telemarketing. The packages offered by them feature a startup fee ranging from of $3,749.99 to $9,749.99, in addition to a monthly fee ranging from $39.99 $99.99.
Paula Selis, assistant attorney general of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection High-Tech Unit, was quoted as saying, “The Attorney General’s Office and Better Business Bureau have received nearly 90 complaints about the defendants, showing a pattern of recurring problems since at least 2005.” Among others, the lawsuit accuses the defendants of the following violations:
- Failure to register with the Department of Licensing as a commercial telephone solicitor and also failure to provide a written confirmation of a consumers’ rights under the Act of Commercial Telephone Solicitation.
- Misrepresenting the ability to significantly increase the website traffic to customer Web sites by providing top search-engine rankings and failure to deliver other promised services.
- False claim of an affiliation with other marketers including ‘Specialty Merchandise Company’, reportedly a drop-ship wholesaler.
- False claims that its customer service representatives are reachable at all times when, in fact, customers are frequently unable to reach the representatives and sometimes do not even receive return calls.
- Failure to provide refunds or honor cancellation requests.
- Continuing billing the credit cards of consumers who have attempted to cancel the services and submitting alleged debts to collection agencies.
The state is presently seeking civil penalties, consumer restitution and a court order to halt the deceptive practices of the defendant.