CHARLESTON -- West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw's Consumer Protection Division has filed a lawsuit against three individuals for violating consumer protection laws in the marketing and sale of personal computers and other electronic goods.
William S. Terry and Herbert L. Terry, both of Sandy Hook, Ky., and Vicky Perdue of Proctorville, Ohio, represented to consumers that they had started a charitable organization called Mikayla's Place that was affiliated with Autism Speaks, a Delaware charitable organization, according to the complaint.
The complaint further alleges that the defendants misrepresented to consumers they were raising money for a camp for autistic and other special needs children by selling laptop computers that had been donated by corporate sponsors and some federal and state agencies.
In reality, the defendants were purchasing the computers at liquidation sales and surplus auctions. Neither the defendants nor Mikayla's Place were registered with the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office to solicit funds for a charity.
McGraw said that his office became aware of the scam when consumers began filing complaints with his Consumer Protection Division. Consumers complained that they had ordered laptop computers from the defendants because they were told the money was for a fundraiser for Mikayla's Place and Autism Speaks and had been charged $50 for each computer they ordered. The consumers were promised delivery within a certain period of time, but most consumers never received a computer and many never received a refund.
"Consumers must be wary of anyone who contacts them raising funds for any charitable organization," McGraw said. "The law requires all charitable organizations and the people who solicit donations for them to register with the Secretary of State. Consumers should always contact the Secretary of State's office to ensure the organization is, in fact, a charity."
Consumers who purchased merchandise in connection with fund-raising for Mikayla's Place can file a complaint with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-800-368-8808 or by obtaining a form at www.wvago.gov.