Business at a glance

Credit score firm settles with FTC for $22 million

NEW YORK – A company that promised customers free credit scores has agreed to pay $22 million to settle charges that it billed customers for monthly credit monitoring that they did not sign up for.

Most of the money, about $21.9 million, will be used for customer refunds. The settlement was made with the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general in Illinois and Ohio.

The FTC said that Dallas-based One Technologies LP, and two related companies, ran at least 50 websites that advertised free credit scores, including, and The FTC said that after customers signed up for a free credit score, the company asked for credit card numbers to verify their identity. Customers would then get charged $29.95 per month for a credit monitoring program.

Customers had to make repeated calls to cancel the program or get a refund, the government agency said. More than 200,000 customers complained to their banks, credit card companies, law enforcement agencies and the Better Business Bureau, the FTC said.

As part of the settlement, One Technologies has agreed to disclose clearly that customers will be charged for its credit monitoring program.

One Technologies said the changes have already been made and that the settlement will not interrupt its service or effect its growth.

Yahoo replaces Google as Firefox default search

SAN FRANCISCO – Yahoo will supplant Google’s search engine on Firefox’s Web browser in the U.S., signaling Yahoo’s resolve to regain some of the ground that it has lost in the most lucrative part of the Internet’s ad market.

The five-year alliance announced Wednesday will end a decade-old partnership in the U.S. between Google Inc. and the Mozilla Foundation, which oversees the Firefox browser. The tensions between Google and Mozilla had been rising since Google’s introduction of the Chrome browser in 2008 began to undercut Firefox. Google’s current contract with Mozilla expires at the end of this month, opening an opportunity for Yahoo to pounce.

Even though Chrome is now more widely used, Firefox still has a loyal audience that makes more than 100 billion worldwide search requests annually.

Yahoo is hoping to impress Firefox users as the Sunnyvale, California, company sets out to prove that it’s still adept at Internet search after leaning on Microsoft’s technology for most of the results on Yahoo’s own website for the past four years.

Financial details of Yahoo’s Firefox contract weren’t disclosed. In a blog post, Mozilla CEO Chris Beard said the new deal offers “strong, improved economic terms” while allowing Mozilla “to innovate and advance our mission in ways that best serve our users and the Web.”

Local financial stocks unchanged

First Niles Financial stocks remained unchanged to close at $9.25 a share in trading Wednesday. Cortland Bancorp was at $15.51 with no change.

Staff, wire reports