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July 30, 2003
Consumer Alert: Bogus Computer Sellers Targeting Hispanics

OLYMPIA - Attorney General Christine Gregoire is warning consumers, especially Spanish-speaking residents, to be cautious when considering purchases of computer equipment from telemarketers or unfamiliar businesses that advertise on television.

Over the past four months, the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division has received at least 12 reports from consumers complaining that they either did not receive the computers they purchased, or only received a portion of the equipment ordered. The telemarketing calls and TV advertising are aimed at Spanish-speaking consumers.

In some cases, victims used credit cards to purchase computer equipment that was never delivered. In others, consumers who expected to receive entire computer systems in a single delivery were later told they would receive pieces of the system as payments were made.

Most of the complaints were from consumers in Eastern Washington, but two reports came from the Vancouver area.

In March, about two dozen Hispanic families in Central Washington were able to get their money back after purchasing computers and educational software from a company called A+ Computer Program USA. A+ sold computers and software that were incompatible.

The Attorney General's Office urges consumers to consider purchasing computer equipment from local retailers and other well-established computer outlets. Consumers who have had problems with their computer purchases can file a complaint by contacting the Attorney General's statewide consumer protection toll-free number, 1-800-551-4636.


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