DMA Refers Ethics Cases to Authorities

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The Direct Marketing Association's Teleservices Ethics Committee yesterday referred two companies to state and federal authorities involving allegations of ethical and legal violations.

The committee referred consumer complaints regarding Premier Benefits to the Federal Trade Commission, the attorneys general of California, New Jersey and New Mexico and the Better Business Bureau. It also referred consumer complaints about Fusion Telekom to the FTC, attorneys general in California, Florida and Nevada and the Better Business Bureau.

Neither company is a DMA member. The committee reviews consumer complaints about marketers and refers them to authorities when it thinks the law has been violated, and it also can refer DMA members for censure, suspension or expulsion.

Premier Benefits, believed to be based in California, offered consumers a "free" shopping spree as well as movie passes, but then tried to get their bank account information and disregarded no-call requests, the DMA said. According to the New Mexico attorney general's office, which issued a warning about Premier Benefits in January, the company offered incentives for a $3.95 advanced fee but then charged consumers a monthly membership fee of $150.

Fusion Telekom, Las Vegas, called a consumer for a solicitation and already had the consumer's credit card number in advance, the DMA said. When the consumer asked where the company had obtained the number, the telemarketing representative became rude and did not answer the question as DMA guidelines require, according to the DMA.

Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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