In the realm of consumer protection, businesses can sometimes be victims. Our office took action this week in two cases in which consumers are businesses.
We settled a lawsuit with a HouseValues, Inc., which sells leads to real estate agents in the U.S. and Canada for hundreds of dollars per month. Our complaint said the Kirkland-based company, doing business as HouseValues.com and JustListed.com, misrepresented the quality of information it provides and subscribers’ cancellation rights. The company didn’t admit any wrongdoing but agreed to comply with injunctive provisions concerning its business practices and waive any fees owed by consumers who filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Office.
We also filed a petition to enforce a court order concerning Internet Advancement, a Redmond-based company that sells search-engine optimization services for thousands of dollars to small businesses. We accused the company, which also does business as 4GreatBuys.com, of violating a settlement by continuing to engage in essentially the same unlawful acts that gave rise to our original lawsuit filed in August 2004, including misrepresenting its ability to provide top search-engine rankings and increase Web traffic.