FTC and States Target “Cardholder Services” Robocalls

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On November 1, the FTC announced that courts have granted temporary restraining orders in five cases in which the FTC alleged that the defendants placed automated calls to consumers to make allegedly deceptive “no-risk” offers to substantially reduce the consumers’ credit card interest rates in exchange for an upfront fee. The telemarketers claimed to be calling from the consumers’ credit card company, or otherwise used the generic “Cardholder Services” title to suggest a relationship with a bank or credit card company, the FTC says. Each complaint alleges that the defendants violated the FTC Act by misrepresenting that consumers who buy their services will have their credit card interest rates reduced substantially and will save thousands of dollars as a result. Four of the five complaints also charge that the defendants violated the FTC Act by making other misrepresentations, such as promises of faster debt payoff. The FTC also charges that the defendants violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) by misrepresenting their services, calling numbers on the Do Not Call Registry, making illegal robocalls, and collecting up-front fees. The FTC coordinated with multiple state entities, including the attorneys general of Arizona and Arkansas and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, each of which took separate actions against other companies for similar alleged activities.

 


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