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Telemarketer Hit for $1 Million; Loses Mercedes

The Federal Trade Commission has obtained a court order requiring a Florida-based to telemarketer to pay $1 million in consumer redress for violating the FTC Act, Telemarketing Sales Rule and Do Not Call Registry.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, the order settles the FTC’s charges against Financial Advisors & Associates Inc. and its principal James Sweet, doing business as Freedom Financial.

Charges involving deceptive practices concerned the payment of advance fees ($200 to $300) for credit cards that were debited from customers’ bank accounts. The cards could only be used to purchase products from Financial Freedom’s catalog or Web site.

The court imposed a monetary judgment of $3.6 million, equal to the amount of money the company received from consumers. However, all but $1 million was suspended, due to an inability to pay.

Sweet was ordered to turn over his Mercedes convertible, which will be sold and the proceeds used towards consumer redress.

The court order prohibits the sale of customer lists or transfer of any information about customers to anyone else.

Originally published in DM News

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