Permanent bans on telemarketing and robocalls were part of a settlement deal between the FTC and a group of defendants.
Treasure Your Success, Ambrosia Web Design, and related individuals agreed to settle charges that the defendants violated Section 5 of the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule by relying upon robocalls to convince consumers to pay up-front fees for credit card interest rate reduction services.
For payments of up to $1,593, Florida-based Treasure Your Success promised consumers it could lower their credit card interest rates to just three percent. Calls typically began with a prerecorded message urging recipients to press one to speak with a representative. Consumers who did so heard a sales pitch from a telemarketer before being scammed into paying an up-front fee for a rate reduction. According to the FTC, consumers “typically failed to get any interest rate reduction or any savings at all.”
Ambrosia Web Design similarly used prerecorded calls instructing recipients to “press one” if they were interested in a reduction of credit card interest rates which telemarketers sometimes intimated were connected with a government program. The company also illegally called numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry and laundered credit card payments by processing them for other telemarketers through Ambrosia accounts and vice versa, the FTC alleged.
Pursuant to the settlement deals, the defendants are banned from delivering robocalls and telemarketing, as well as advertising, marketing, promoting, or offering for sale any debt relief product or service, or assisting others in doing so. In addition, the defendants are prohibited from using certain payment process methods like remotely created checks, which the agency said “are often used to conduct fraud.” Misrepresentations regarding any “financial products or services” or the efficacy of a product or service are also forbidden.
Monetary judgments of $8.3 million against Treasure Your Success and related individuals and more than $2 million against the Ambrosia defendants were suspended due to an inability to pay.
To read the complaints and the final orders in the case, click here.
Why it matters: In a press release about the settlements, the agency said the cases are part of its continuing “crackdown on illegal robocallers.” The complaints against Treasure Your Success and Ambrosia Web Design were filed as part of joint law enforcement effort with state officials in Arizona, Arkansas, and Florida against five different companies that the FTC said made millions of illegal prerecorded calls.