MONTPELIER -- Nearly 300 Vermont businesses will receive a total of $75,000 in refunds due to a state settlement with an alleged landline telephone "crammer," the state Attorney General's Office said.

The Attorney General's Office announced Monday that Enhanced Services Billing Inc. had agreed to pay $200,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging that ESBI passed on unauthorized charges from Localbizusa, a defunct seller of Web services, to Vermont customers.

According to the AG's complaint, "Localbizusa signed up Vermont businesses for Web services without their permission, used a deceptive telemarketing script to do so, and failed to provide legally required billing and cancellation disclosures."

The Attorney General's Office said EBSI would send refund checks to 294 Vermont businesses and would also pay the state $125,000.

Cramming is the practice of billing customers for fraudulent or unauthorized services. In a news release, the AG's office said it has won more than $2.5 million in refunds for Vermonters since the state's anti-cramming law was passed.


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