Report: #121534

Complaint Review: Alyon Technologies

  • Submitted: Mon, December 06, 2004
  • Updated: Tue, December 07, 2004
  • Reported By: hollywood California
  • Alyon Technologies
    Secaucus New Jersey
    Secaucus, New Jersey

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Porn dialler case settled for $22m
Emily Fredrix in Washington
DECEMBER 07, 2004

AN internet company has agreed to forgive $US17 million ($22 million) in customer bills as part of an agreement with the government.

In exchange for the dropped bills, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will stop its investigations of Alyon Technologies, which had been accused of illegally billing unknowing customers for a dial-up connection to pornographic web sites.

As part of the settlement, the New Jersey-based company will forgive $US22 million in bills incurred before June 15, 2003, for customers who dispute the claims. Customers with bills for the same time period who have disputed the claims will be credited.

The FTC estimates more than 200,000 customers will be affected.

Alyon Technologies may continue to bill customers, and it does not have to return money it has already collected, the FTC said.

The company also agreed to obtain verifiable consent from customers and to inform customers of their right to dispute charges in future bills. The company must also refrain from installing programs or spyware on customers' computers.

"The decision to provide these credits and institute these procedures made business sense and assisted us to bring this time-consuming and expensive litigation to a conclusion," Alyon President Stephane Touboul said in a statement.

The FTC had been investigating alleged violations of advertising and telecommunications laws by the company and Mr Touboul since May 2003. Similar charges were filed by attorneys general for 16 states, among them Wisconsin, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Missouri and Ohio.

The FTC said Alyon billed consumers $US4.99 a minute for dial-up internet connections to adult web sites. Customers would see a pop-up for the site, hit a button to agree to terms or close the window and Alyon would download a program onto the user's computer.

That program would then disconnect users from their own connection and dial a new provider, the FTC said. It said subscribers to the phone numbers would then receive bills, regardless of whether they had authorised the purchase or visited the site.

The Associated Press

This a a major loss for Alyon. Who now must contend with 12 lawsuits from State Attorney Generals and a RICO (Racketeering) suit filed in Florida.

Tom Chi
Miami, Florida

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#1 Consumer Comment

More on the Settlement. Washington Post ..billing $4.99 per minute will forgive at least $17 million in customers' bills as part of a settlement with the government

AUTHOR: Sam - (U.S.A.)

An Internet company whose software downloaded itself onto computers and dialed up pornographic Web sites while billing $4.99 per minute will forgive at least $17 million in customers' bills as part of a settlement with the government. An additional $22 million in bills from Alyon Technologies are subject to dismissal if customers dispute them. In exchange, the Federal Trade Commission will stop its investigation of the New Jersey company, which must obtain verifiable consent from customers before billing, let them know of their right to dispute charges and stop downloading programs or spyware to their machine

Google has more than 78 concurrent stories on the FTC's action and it is growing worldwide. Major FTC win. Congratulations, guys.

Thanks go to all the righteous people who fought for justice and to the FTC and Attorney Generals of many states who made it happen.
Happy Holidays
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