My wife's Mother brought over a letter from a collection agency (Merchant's Credit Guide Co. in Chicago, IL) trying to collect $39.12 for their client Alyon Technologies Inc. My mother-in-law was very concerned because the collection was under the name of her beloved husband who passed away a year ago. My wife called the number to the collection agency (888-249-1033) and was told that the cost was for an Adult Web site access using a dialer. My wife turned the collection letter over to me for further investigation.
I typed "Alyon Technologies Inc." into my search engine (MetaCrawler) and the first return was from badbusinessbureau.com. There were 1270 entries at the time complaining about Alyon Technologies. I read a few of the reports, was sufficiently satisfied that Nanny was being ripped off, and decided to call the collection agency myself.
I first spoke to Rubie, she was nice but could not resolve the account, and turned me over to her manager Adam Kelly. I spoke with Adam and informed him of the questionable nature of the bill. He said that the bill was in my deceased father-in-law's name because the phone bill was still under his name.
He said, and this is important, that the operator of the badbusinessbureau.com was a disgruntled employee of Alyon Technologies!! He said they were currently in litigation regarding lawsuites against one another!! I assured Adam that Nanny would pay the bill if it was found to be legitimate, but that I needed to do further investigation to determine the legitimacy. (Besides Nanny, there were 4 other people living in the house with internet access, including her 13 and 17 yr. old nephews, so I don't deny the possibility.)
I started looking for other information regarding Alyon Tech., and found several court injunction against the company for questionable ethics. "Attorney General Lockyer Files Consumer (censored)Lawsuit Against Alyon Technologies. Complaint charges illeagle dialing program loads without consumer knowledge." (http://caag.state.ca.us/newsalerts/2003/03-057.htm) and also "Attorney General Darrell V. McGraw, Jr. Secured a Preliminary Injunction Against Alyon Technologies, Inc., a Purveyor of Internet Pornography" (http://www.state.wv.us/wvag/2003/june/23b.htm) which alleges that, "Alyon barraged West Virginians with false billing statements purporting to charge consumers for access to pornographic websites on the Internet". These were just 2 examples, there were far too many returns to check them all.
This convinced me that there was at least enough evidence against Alyon Technologies to warrant delayed payment, pending the outcome of several lawsuits. I contacted Adam again at Merchants' Credit Guide Co. and told him of my decision to delay payment. He informed me that the FDC has just handed down a decision stating that Alyon's practices were legal, and that all eleven of the Attorney General's lawsuits would be dropped as a result. I told him that as soon as that became apparent, Nanny would remit payment.
To prevent further calls from Nanny's phone, I went to Alyon's customer support site, (http://www.alyon.net/CustomerSupport/index.php)
I typed in the account number off of the bill from the collection agency and Nanny's phone number, and chose to "Block" any more calls from that number. I'll let you know if that works, or if I receive any more bills as a result of blocking the number.
Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee