CHARLESTON - A group of settlements reached by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will provide $665,000 to consumers nationwide.

Cuomo settled allegations against seven online electronic stores that they advertised lower prices than they eventually provided. West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw issued a press release Oct. 15 alerting consumers of the settlements.

The defendants were Best Price Camera, Foto Connection, 1 Way Photo, 86th Street Photo, Broadway Photo, LLC, Camera Wiz and Sonic Photo. Camera Wiz and Sonic Photo have agreed to shut down.

The defendants were alleged to have advertised consumers electronics, including cameras, camcorders, projectors and relate accessories, online at significantly lower prices than their competitors to lure consumers to place orders with them.

After an order was placed, the companies would call the purchaser to attempt to sell additional or upgraded merchandise at inflated prices, it is alleged. Consumers who refused to purchase the additional merchandise would have their original purchase canceled or would be told the item was back ordered, sometimes for months, it is alleged.

Customers who did agree to purchase the additional merchandise would then receive lower quality merchandise than what was promised or merchandise that was not ordered.

Cuomo alleged attempts to return items were either denied or hit with undisclosed fees, and that customers were also limited in their ability to return merchandise by requirements that they must speak to a live customer representative during limited business hours. Telephone calls at the appropriate time were then not answered, he said.

Consumers who believe they are eligible for a refund must reach the New York Better Buiness Bureau. McGraw is offering claim forms to those interested consumers who call his Consumer Protection Hot Line.

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