TALLAHASSEE, FL — Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that his office has reached a resolution with a prepaid long distance phone card company over marketing practices related to its calling cards. Business Telecommunications Services, Inc., also known as ADMA Telecom, Inc. must now fully deliver the total amount of long distance telephone minutes as advertised and disclose all applicable fees and charges. The settlement also provides for a total of $75,000 to be donated to The Hispanic Institute, which assisted the Attorney General’s Office with its investigation into the prepaid calling card industry.
“I am pleased the higher standards in place within the calling card industry will benefit many of our residents who were using these cards to communicate with family and loved ones,” said Attorney General McCollum.
ADMA is the 12th company to reach a settlement with the Attorney General over issues related to the prepaid calling card industry. The agreement requires the company to cease any potentially deceptive advertisements, provide 100 percent of the minutes advertised, and submit to three years of auditing by the Attorney General’s Office to ensure that it is following the terms of the agreement. Further, as part of the settlement agreement, the company will provide funding of $25,000 per year for three years to The Hispanic Institute to support its investigative and monitoring efforts in this industry.
“Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is the national leader in combating calling card fraud,” said Gus West, president of the Hispanic Institute. “His work on this issue, and many other issues, continues to provide consumer protection to Hispanics.”
The Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division reached this agreement as a result of a continued investigation of the prepaid calling card industry. Prior to the investigation, consumers complained that companies within the industry often utilized hidden or inadequately disclosed fees and charges such as “hang-up fees,” periodic maintenance fees and destination surcharges.
The Economic Crimes Division is still investigating other companies that have been allegedly engaging in similar deceptive and unfair trade practices. Consumers affected by these or other practices may file a complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website at http://www.myfloridalegal.com or by calling the fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226.