"Miss Cleo" sells herself on television as a psychic -- so she may have seen this one in the cards.
Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in Sangamon County Circuit Court, accusing Access Resource Services Inc. of Fort Lauderdale of consumer fraud in promoting the Miss Cleo psychic hotline.
The ad features an actress posing as Miss Cleo and speaking in a Caribbean accent, who encourages viewers to call a toll-free number and receive "free" psychic readings. She promises insights into love, money and other personal matters.
But Ryan said his office has received more than 200 complaints from Illinoisans who say they never got the free reading because they were placed on hold or asked first to provide personal information. Other customers said they received a brief three- to five-minute free period, then were billed $4.99 a minute until they hung up, Ryan said.
Ryan also said the TV ads showed no actual psychic readings, but rather re-enactments by actors.
The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting further fraudulent acts, and seeks restitution, civil penalties and court costs.
In recent months, Kansas and Missouri attorneys general also sued the Florida company over Miss Cleo ads. In response to the Kansas lawsuit, Sean Moynihan, a New York attorney for ARS, acknowledged that some time is spent on the phone collecting information and helping the psychic to get to know the customer, but he said callers do get free readings as advertised.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times