N.Y. state lawyers predict Miss Cleo’s calls will be trouble

Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — The marketers behind television psychic Miss Cleo were accused Wednesday of violating New York’s "do not call" telemarketing law more than 100 times in the past seven months.

C. Adrienne Rhodes, executive director of the Consumer Protection Board, said Access Resource Services of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — also called the Psychic Readers Network — may be subject to as much as $224,000 in fines.

According to the agency, Access-PRN misleads customers into thinking they can get a free psychic reading. But Rhodes said the "psychics" employed by Access-PRN can only be reached by dialing a 900 number at $3.99 a minute.

She also said the psychics seem more interested in keeping people on the telephone than in giving them a reading.

"This so-called ‘psychic’ service appears to be a scam to keep people on the telephone for as long as possible," Rhodes said.

Sean Moynihan, a lawyer for Access-PRN, said it checked the numbers of 86 people complaining about its business practices to the consumer board and found all previously called for psychic readings.

He said the contacts did not violate the do not call rules because companies get wider latitude when telemarketing to former customers than when calling potential new customers.

Under the April 1 telemarketing law, New Yorkers sign up on a registry that prohibits unsolicited calls from marketers at certain hours and companies from making aggressive, confusing sales pitches over the telephone. More than 2 million people have signed up.

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