In a September 4, 2012 press release, the FTC announced it is sending refund checks to 4,468 consumers “who allegedly were defrauded by a telemarketer who used robocalls (prerecorded voice messages) to pitch worthless credit card rate reduction programs for an up-front fee.” The amount of the check each consumer will receive varies between $31 and $1,300 depending on how much money the consumer lost in the scam.
The refunds are a result of a July 2010 judgment in one of several cases the FTC brought against defendants that made illegal robocalls to consumers using names including “Heather from card services,” “Client Services,” “Clear Breeze Solutions,” and “MoneyWorks.” According to the FTC, the defendants claimed they could provide the following services and benefits to consumers for an up-front fee ranging from $990 – $1,495:
substantially lower consumers’ credit card interest rates and save them thousands of dollars in interest that consumers would otherwise have to pay,
consumers would become debt-free much faster, typically three to five times faster, than they could without the defendants’ program,
consumers would not have to make higher monthly payments than they were making currently,
if consumers did not achieve a specific amount in savings, usually $4,000, defendants would provide consumers with a full refund of their purchase price.
In the Judgment and Final Order, the defendants were found to have violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule and have been permanently banned from delivering prerecorded messages and from marketing debt relief services and were ordered to pay monetary relief to consumers in the amount of a little over $25 million.
The FTC advises consumers who receive the checks to cash them within 60 days of the date the check was issued. If you have questions, call the FTC redress hotline at 1-866-224-5404.
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