Pam Bondi: 411 Pain must change ads

7:37 AM, Jun 5, 2012   |    comments
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ORLANDO, Fla. (WKMG) - The Florida Attorney General's office has settled its lawsuit against the 1-800-411 Pain referral service, forcing the company to change its advertising practices and pay $550,000 to Florida-based charities.

"We are protecting consumers by requiring 411-PAIN to change its representation of services and its advertising practices," said Attorney General Pam Bondi.

CBS affiliate WKMG investigated 411 Pain earlier this year and found that the hotline was not the "lawyer referral service" it was advertised to be; it was, instead, a pain clinic answering service that would refer victims to attorneys, but would also suggest treatments at its own clinics.  The ads suggested victims could get a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP), plus a guarantee of lost wages.

WKMG also found cases where the pain clinics would exhaust the $10,000 of PIP coverage in treatments, at times leaving patients with hefty balances and no lawyer willing to sue for more money.

The Attorney General's investigation focused on alleged unfair and deceptive trade practices. The settlement reached by the state in Broward Circuit Court prohibits the company from

  • Promising any monetary compensation in its ads
  • Saying it's referring victims to a so-called "specialized attorney"
  • Using a website's Find A Lawyer section to refer consumers to doctors or chiropractors
  • Using images of law enforcement officers to suggest that officials are directing consumers to use 411 Pain after calling 911, unless the officer is labeled "paid actor"

To read the full settlement click here

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