Discover's telemarketing practices in question

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Discover Financial Services' telemarketing practices came under fire this week as the Minnesota attorney general filed a suit alleging the credit card company made "aggressive, misleading and deceptive," calls on a variety of products, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The suit alleges that telemarketers duped consumers into purchasing items, such as identity theft protection and a credit score tracker. Additionally, it complains that the telemarketing representatives intentionally mumbled through scripts and sometimes placed calls ostensibly to talk about the Discover cash-back rewards program but then switched over to discussing the products for purchase.

Discover representatives did not comment on the lawsuit to the Journal but it did defend its financial products.

"It's not in Discover's interest to sell a product that doesn't enhance our relationship with our card members. Many card members find Discover's protection products valuable as they provide peace of mind," the company said in a statement.

This case demonstrates the continued bad reputation that the teleservices industry continues to battle. Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also shut down two Florida telemarketers because they allegedly "flooded consumers with misleading pre-recorded robocalls falsely promising to reduce their credit card interest rates."

Yet, the number of consumer complaints about telemarketing calls decreased this year to about 1.6 million, compared to 1.8 million in fiscal year 2009, the FTC reported in its second annual report National Do Not Call Registry Data Book. The number of active phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry continued to rise over the last year bringing the total to about 201 million. The FTC credited its ban of most "robocalls" implemented in 2009 with cutting down on complaints.

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