The Federal Trade Commission recently settled with Florida-based company Inbound Call Experts on December 22 for deceiving thousands of consumers with its telemarketing scheme.
Under the final order, the company must pay a penalty of $10 million to settle the FTC’s charges that it used software designed to make consumers think their computers had viruses and malware, followed by high-pressure telemarketing sales pitches. Inbound Call Experts deceived the consumers into buying its products and services on the premise of these misrepresentations, the FTC stated in a complaint.
Inbound Call Experts may not make misrepresentations while selling a product or service, including misrepresenting that they have identified performance or security issues on consumers’ computers. Before the FTC halted the company’s operations in 2014, consumers had been induced to spend more than $120 million on its products and services.
Takeaway: The FTC has been on the alert for marketing programs that seem to take advantage of particular consumer vulnerabilities, including lack of technical knowledge. Companies advertising to these populations should be careful not to make misrepresentations that would exploit such vulnerabilities.