Directory Telemarketers Settle With FTC

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Two Canadians doing business as American Business Solutions have agreed to stop telemarketing business directories to U.S. consumers and return uncashed checks as part of a settlement of alleged fraudulent telemarketing practices, the Federal Trade Commission said yesterday.


The FTC alleged that ABS founder/president Kelly Nguyen and his mother and director of the company Minh Tam Vo along with several related companies deceptively marketed business directories to U.S. consumers via unsolicited telephone calls and then sent invoices billing them between $249 and $459 for the directory and the listing. If recipients refused to pay, they were harassed by phone and mail, the complaint further alleged.


As part of the settlement, the defendants were banned from selling business directories in the United States and have agreed to forfeit more than $36,000 in checks seized from their U.S. mailboxes.


The FTC was granted a default judgment against ABS including a $908,710 judgment representing the total amount of consumer injury in the case. The defendants will have to pay that amount if they are found to have misrepresented their financial status.


Several Canadian law enforcement entities worked with the FTC on this case as well as the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the State of Nevada Office of the Attorney General, the Washington State Office of the Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau of the Southland, CA.


The stipulated final order for permanent injunction was entered by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on Feb. 9. The Court entered the default judgment against ABS on November 16, 2005.


The FTC voted 5-0 to authorize the staff to file the stipulated final order for permanent injunction.


The FTC is still pursuing cases against remaining defendants - Global Management Solutions; Commutel Marketing, also doing business as Marketing USA; Ty Nguyen; Cory Kornelson; Byron Steczko; and Phong Anh Vo.


Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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