WASHINGTON – Three men who sold internet marketing services to various small businesses throughout the country were fined after customers complained they never got the services they paid for.
The men were ordered to pay around $471,500 in fines and penalties to the customers that they promised services to. They were also ordered by King County Superior Court Judge Julie Spector to let the state’s attorney general know about any other complaints against them and issue them refunds as well.
“Web marketing services have long been a problem for people in this state and people around the country,” said Paula Stelis, the lead attorney in the lawsuit, as well as senior counsel with the Attorney General’s Office. “There are legitimate companies who do legitimate website marketing. Unfortunately, these weren’t one of them.”
Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office filed a lawsuit last year against Jeremy Avey, Alexander Martin and Brent Stanphill, claiming the men violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act and the Commercial Telephone Solicitation Act.
Companies operated by the men were also named in the suit. They include White Crane Technologies, White Crane Productions, TNT Cart, Strada Technologies, Cybercom Technologies and Wizy-Wiz eCommerce.
According to the lawsuit, the companies did not meet their deadlines for completing websites and failed to address customer complaints. They also failed to provide services altogether for some clients.
Last Friday’s ruling uncovered that 35 clients were owed a combined total of $108,000.
One of the defendants, Alexander Martin, said his company, TNT, has already addressed five complaints, refunding the customers. He acknowledges that he delayed in responding to complaints because he had been disabled from a ski accident. However, he believes he did not wrong his customers.