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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357

Attorney General Gansler Announces Settlement with Private Investigator
Anne Arundel County Business Agrees to Change Billing Practices

BALTIMORE, MD ( July 15, 2010) -Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced that his Consumer Protection Division has entered into a settlement with Donaldson Investigations, LLC, an Anne Arundel County-based private investigator, and Jerry Donaldson, the company’s owner. The Division received complaints from consumers who claimed that Donaldson Investigations billed them for services that it did not perform. Consumers also complained that Donaldson Investigations debited their bank accounts without giving them prior notice of the debits. Donaldson Investigations denied it violated any laws, but agreed to resolve the matter.

“Consumers need to know when the companies they hire to perform a service take money out of their bank accounts,” said Attorney General Gansler. “We are pleased that Donaldson has agreed to change the way it does business and resolve the complaints we have received.”

The settlement with Donaldson Investigations requires the company to cease debiting or otherwise withdrawing money from its customers’ bank accounts unless it first provides the consumer with a written notice, at least 10 days in advance of the debit or other withdrawal, that specifies the amount to be debited, the account from which the monies are to be debited or withdrawn, and the date on which the debit or withdrawal is to be made. Donaldson Investigations has also agreed to arbitrate the complaints that the Division has received, or receives within the next five years, using the Attorney General’s arbitration program. This provides consumers with a less expensive and more informal forum to resolve their complaints than litigating in court. The company and its owner also agreed to pay the Division $5,000 for its costs and $5,000 as a civil penalty. The penalty will increase to $20,000 if the company breaches the settlement.

Consumers who wish to have their complaints with Donaldson Investigations resolved through the Attorney General’s Office may contact the Division’s Mediation Unit at 888-743-0023.


Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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