Judge issues restraining order in robocalls suit

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A federal court judge today issued a temporary restraining order against telemarketing company Voice Touch Inc., of Florida, and its business partner, Illinois-based Network Foundations LLC, from making any further calls in violation of the National Do Not Call Registry and other provisions of the Telemarketing Sales Rule and the FTC Act.

Judge John F. Grady of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois also issued a temporary restraining order Thursday against Florida-based automobile warranty sales company Transcontinental Warranty Inc., a Voice Touch client.

The Federal Trade Commission had filed suit Thursday charging that the defendants were operating a massive telemarketing scheme that used random, pre-recorded phone calls to deceive consumers into thinking that their vehicle's warranty is about to expire.

“Today the FTC has disconnected the people responsible for so many of these annoying robocalls,” said FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz of the judge's action in a statement. “We expect to see a dramatic decrease in deceptive auto warranty calls, but we are still on high alert.”

The court also barred deceptive claims about extended warranties, froze the defendants' assets and appointed receivers over Transcontinental and Network Foundations to preserve documents and assets. A preliminary injunction hearing is set for May 29.

The FTC claims the companies violated the FTC Act and the TSR either by calling people on the do not call list or those who had asked not to be called. The companies further violated the TSR by concealing their phone numbers from showing up on caller ID, also known as spoofing; failing to identify themselves in the calls; and failing to disclose the call was a sales pitch, the FTC contends.

Leibowitz said Thursday the companies behind the calls, which could number up to 1 billion, had gone to great lengths to hide their identities.


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