FTC Settles With Two Fraudulent Direct Marketers

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The Federal Trade Commission this week said two direct marketing companies have agreed to settle charges that they made fraudulent claims about how to obtain government-seized cars and homes and how to obtain at-home government employment.


The companies, Clarendon House Inc. and Arlington Press Inc., both based in Santa Barbara, CA, advertised business opportunities through direct mail and classified ads that listed a toll-free number. The FTC alleged that the companies used a variety of misrepresentations to persuade consumers who called the number to purchase guidebooks, which cost $50 to $100 or more, that could be used to find government auctions of expensive cars and homes for fractions of their value.


In addition, the companies also advertised various employment opportunities, such as government jobs and at-home typing. The guides did not include listings of actual positions, the FTC said.


Clarendon House agreed to pay $3.96 million in consumer redress and agreed to several other stipulations, including that it would post a bond if it ever engaged in telemarketing again.


Arlington Press agreed to pay $54,200 in consumer redress and also agreed to post a bond if it seeks to engage in telemarketing. In addition, Arlington Press associates David and George Umholz agreed to turn over three vintage Jaguars to the FTC, which it will sell to gain more funds for consumer redress.
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