Software Firm Settles Telemarketing Charge

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A California software marketing company has agreed to pay $90,000 to settle charges that it failed to tell consumers during telemarketing sales pitches that they would be charged at the end of a trial period, the Federal Trade Commission said yesterday.

Micro Star Software, Carlsbad, CA, pitched "no-risk" 30-day trial offers of software packages to consumers for $19.95, the FTC said. While the company's telemarketers told consumers that they would receive refunds to their credit cards by canceling within the trial period, the telemarketers failed to disclose that the consumers would receive an additional $49.95 charge if they failed to cancel, according to the FTC.

The additional charge was to automatically enroll consumers in a continuity club, the FTC said. Consumers would receive a software package every month for $19.95 each.

In addition to paying a fine, Micro Star agreed to include more disclosures in its telemarketing pitches and obtain consumer consent before shipping them additional products. The company also agreed to include the terms of its marketing programs in all product packaging shipped to consumers.

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