Orem-based iMergent Inc. has settled a dispute with North Carolina about the e-commerce software company's operations.

Both the company and the North Carolina Attorney General's Office announced the settlement Wednesday. The company said the agreement, if approved by a judge, will allow the company to continue to offer workshops in the state. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said iMergent and its unit StoresOnline "have agreed to change their ways and pay full refunds" to affected North Carolina customers.

Cooper contended that iMergent marketed itself as a "business opportunity," violated consumer protection laws and misrepresented its promises to help people set up successful online businesses.

In May 2007, iMergent was barred from operating in North Carolina and was required to issue a refund to any North Carolina customer who asked for one.

The settlement announced Wednesday lifts the May 2007 injunction. IMergent said it contains no finding that the company sells business opportunities and that no wrongdoing was found. The settlement puts no limits on iMergent's ability to conduct business in North Carolina; the company has agreed to clarify its business practices, and to pay fees of $90,000 and provide refunds to certain customers who apply.

IMergent said it does not expect the refunds to be "material" because it has provided refunds to all customers who have made a request under the terms of the injunction.

In a news release announcing the settlement, Cooper said his office has obtained more than $265,000 in refunds so far.

"Companies that claim to help people start a business need to live up to their promises," Cooper said. "If not, they should expect to hear from my office."

In a prepared statement, iMergent general counsel Jeff Korn said iMergent is "always willing to take any reasonable action that assists in making our sales practices transparent to regulators and, most importantly, our customers. ... We are hopeful our continued improvements in our presentations and service will assist in resolving any other outstanding disputes."

Chief executive officer Don Danks said the company is "pleased this matter has been resolved, and we intend to return to North Carolina shortly."

In June, iMergent settled with Illinois over legal disputes regarding the company's software and sales representations. The company agreed to pay $405,000, which included refunds to some Illinois customers. In May, a settlement with Wisconsin included paying the state costs of $50,000, but no refunds were required. In April, iMergent settled with Connecticut by agreeing to pay customer refunds totaling $65,000.


E-mail: bwallace@desnews.com