April 15, 2013
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster said today that despite a default judgment against it, a state of California company and its owner may still be distributing misleading advertisements to Missouri businesses. Koster is asking businesses that receive these solicitations to contact his office to file complaints.
Koster alleges that UST Development Inc., and owner David Bell, are advertising their services by distributing deceiving solicitations to Missouri businesses and government agencies. The solicitations are designed to look as though they are phone bills due for payment. The Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office has received 80 complaints regarding these solicitations, while UST Development is continuing to send the mailings.
“My office will not tolerate businesses that attempt to deceive consumers into signing up for a service they do not want or paying money they do not owe,” Koster said. “We will continue to protect Missouri consumers by pursuing individuals and companies that break the laws of our state.”
The Attorney General obtained a judgment that ordered UST Development and Bell to pay $60,000 in civil penalties to the state of Missouri for their illegal practices as well as reimburse the state in the amount of $3,750 for the investigation and prosecution of the case. The judgment prohibited UST Development and Bell from doing business in the state of Missouri and from sending solicitations to Missouri consumers.
Koster reminds consumers to carefully review bills they receive and to report misleading advertisements to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
Businesses or consumers who receive a misleading advertisement from UST Development should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or file a consumer complaint.