Consumer Finance Insights
December 7, 2015

Florida Telemarketing Companies Barred from Making Debt Relief Robocalls

On December 3, two telemarketers stipulated to a preliminary injunction preventing the companies from making allegedly misleading robocalls to consumers regarding reduction in credit card interest rates as part of a debt relief offering.

In the underlying lawsuit, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the State of Florida filed a complaint against several Florida telemarketing companies pursuant to the FTC Act, the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, and the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The FTC’s lawsuit against several Florida companies alleges that the companies autodialed consumers nationwide claiming that they could help consumers pay off credit card debt more quickly.  According to the complaint, the telemarketers often identified themselves as representatives of banks of credit card companies, obtained credit card and personally identifying information from consumers, and charged consumers up to several thousand dollars for rate reductions that never occurred.  In July, a temporary restraining order shut down seven of the telemarketing companies. Following the restraining order, two other companies followed up with the seven affected companies’ former customers, making the same sales pitch.

Pursuant to the recent stipulation, these two companies and one of their officers are enjoined from misrepresenting that they will substantially reduce consumers’ credit card interest rates; submitting billing information for payment without obtaining consumers’ express informed consent to do so; and receiving payment for debt relief services prior to actually reducing consumers’ debt.

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