State settles with defunct 'Dinecheck' company

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Hundreds of people who were left holding worthless gift certificates to various restaurants will get money back under a settlement with state authorities, Attorney General Tom Corbett said Friday.

Taste America Gifts Inc. of New Stanton agreed to pay $24,500 in restitution for "Dinecheck" gift certificates that were no longer honored by the restaurants after the company suspended operations in May, authorities said. The company also will pay $500 in legal fees and costs.

Under the agreement, neither Taste America Gifts nor its president, Michael Reese, acknowledge any wrongdoing.

The $10 and $25 certificates, redeemable at participating restaurants, were sold by Taste America Gifts in mall kiosks and on its Web site to consumers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia. Most of the restaurants were in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Mr. Corbett's office received about 700 complaints from holders of gift certificate, spokesman Nils Frederiksen said. He said consumers should get all of their money back, but if the amount does not completely cover claims it will be split equally among all holders who file a complaint by Feb. 24.



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