News Clip: Washington Post: When Candace Hadley got a telemarketing call from Mercury Internet Services, she didn’t find the pitch especially enticing, but the price was right.
For no charge, the company said, it would make a demo Web page for Hadley’s small advertising and marketing firm, Oakton-based Hadley & Associates. She could then review the page and decide whether to buy from Mercury.
Hadley designs her own Web sites, so she wasn’t interested in paying others to make one for her. But she was curious, and because the company didn’t have her credit card information, Hadley figured it couldn’t hurt to take a look.
It wasn’t until a year later — long after she had tossed the demo page the company sent her — that Hadley noticed Mercury’s name buried in her 13-page-long monthly phone bill, accompanied by a charge for $29.95. Next to the Mercury charge was another $29.95 hit from a company she’d never heard of, a subsidiary of Epixtar Corp. Old phone bills yielded even more evidence of charges she said she had never authorized. The grand total for the year: $520.85.