Site Allowing Users to Contract for Services, Check Account Status, Supported Jurisdiction
Reproduced with permission from BNA's Electronic Commerce & Law Report, Vol. 10,
No. 41, pp. 1027-1028 (Oct. 26, 2005). Copyright 2005 byThe Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.
A credit repair Web site that permitted customers to contract for services online and check the status of their accounts was sufficiently interactive to support personal jurisdiction over the site operators, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled Oct. 11 (Asmar v. Benchmark Literacy Group, E.D. Mich., No. 04-70711, 10/11/05).
The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants, two credit repair firms, violated the federal Credit Repair Organizations Act, 15 U.S.C. §1679 et seq, by pre-charging for services not yet performed.
One defendant, the owner of American Financial Access Inc., was based in California. AFA's Web site marketed services to customers nationwide by including buttons on its Web site that read, "Enroll Now!" and "Enroll Online." However, customers could not pay online through the Web site. AFA also employed a group of sales representatives in around the country, including the Detroit area.
A second defendant, Benchmark Literacy Group, was also a California-based credit repair program that solicited customers online via a Web site. At the time this lawsuit was filed, customers could enroll online, submit several pieces of personal information, including credit card numbers, and purchase the advertised services.
Subscribers can access the full story by clicking here.