SEATTLE – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that thousands of Washington consumers are eligible for refunds under a settlement with the operators of www.privasafe.com and www.surfsafeinternetservices.com that could ultimately cost the defendants $1 million.
Actuality 1 (25 seconds): Consumer Digital Services, JSE Direct and their subsidiaries advertise on their Web sites that they will ‘protect your computer and privacy’ and guard you from ‘unscrupulous marketers.’ But while promoting their Privasafe and SurfSafe products, the defendants sold the personal information of thousands of Washington consumers and billed consumers for services they didn’t want. Consumers were surprised to find charges on their phone bills.
Actuality 2 (17 seconds): We alleged the defendants lured Washington consumers with online offers for “free” gift cards and merchandise including flat-screen monitors. The product promotions were a means to obtain personal information. Only one Washington consumer received the advertised “free” item.
Actuality 3 (18 seconds): Today’s settlement prohibits the promoters of Privasafe and SurfSafe from selling or sharing any information collected from or about Washington consumers since Jan. 1, 2004. The settlement could ultimately cost the defendants $1 million in consumer refunds, civil penalties and attorney’s fees.
In a consent decree filed today in King County Superior Court, defendants did not admit to any wrongdoing but agreed to provide full refunds to Washington consumers who were billed for Privasafe or SurfSafe Internet services anytime since Jan. 1, 2004. Defendants will notify eligible consumers by e-mail and mail.
The defendants agreed to a variety of injunctive provisions related to how they conduct business in the future and will pay $100,000 in civil penalties and $200,000 in attorneys’ fees. An additional $200,000 in civil penalties is suspended as long as they comply with the settlement terms.
See the full-length news release for more details.
Media Contacts: Kristin Alexander, Seattle Media Relations Manager, (206) 464-6432
Katherine Tassi, Assistant Attorney General, (206) 389-3974