October 5, 2011 | 10:39am
Florida's attorney general is investigating the 1-800-411-PAIN Referral Service, looking into allegations of "deceptive and misleading advertising" that echo the complaints made in a civil lawsuit filed against the Lauderdale Lakes company last year.
411-PAIN -- whose billboards, TV commercials, and radio ads are tough to miss in South Florida -- refers clients who have been in car accidents to a network of lawyers and medical clinics. The complaint filed with the Attorney General's Office raises questions about whether those referrals are designed to assist consumers or simply line the pockets of the lawyers and chiropractors involved.
411-PAIN's commercials lead "victims to believe that they are contacting an attorney for legal services, when in fact they are contacting
chiropractic medical clinics. They are later referred to an attorney through the medical clinic while receiving treatment," alleges a complaint summary on the attorney general's website.
"[411-PAIN] alleges to assist consumers in obtaining access to the $10K in PIP [personal injury protection insurance] reimbursement available after an accident. It is alleged that the PIP is used up by the attorneys and doctors, and that the consumer is then not able to get reimbursement for loss [sic] wages and other necessities. It is alleged that consumers are told that they are being referred to an attorney and believe that they are speaking with an attorney when they are not."
This is a civil investigation, not a criminal one, although it's being run out of the economic crimes division of the Attorney General's Office in West Palm Beach.
When similar claims were made against 411-PAIN in a class-action lawsuit last year, the company denied all the allegations. 411-PAIN's lawyer, Lester Perling, was not immediately available to respond to New Times' request for comment today.