FTC Settles Suit Against Telemarketing Firm

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The Federal Trade Commission settled a lawsuit yesterday against a company it accused of running a bogus office supply telemarketing scheme.

Laser Express of Tennessee Ltd. Inc., Nashville, TN, agreed to pay $374,000 in restitution to consumers as part of the settlement, which prohibits the company from engaging in the telemarketing of office supplies.

Laser Express sold ink toner and other office supplies to businesses, nonprofit organizations and government institutions. According to the FTC, the company routinely billed its customers for merchandise they had not ordered. Laser Express sometimes claimed that a former employee of the customer had ordered supplies, the FTC said.

The FTC suit also claimed that Laser Express used deceptive claims in its telemarketing efforts. In some cases, Laser Express billed customers at prices that were higher than usual for office supplies, then claimed its products were longer-lasting than ordinary office materials.

The lawsuit against Laser Express was part of Operation Misprint, an FTC effort launched in December 1999 to abolish fraudulent office supply telemarketing schemes.

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