States Settle With Action Direct Marketing Over Dubious Data Collection

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The attorneys general from Texas and five other states this month reached a settlement with Action Direct Marketing, El Cajon, CA, and its owner, Robert D. Hodges, to stop ADM from using deceitful means to obtain medical information from consumers and then using that information to conduct direct marketing campaigns.

The attorneys general, led by Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, said ADM claimed to be conducting a national health survey when it called consumers seeking data about certain ailments, when in fact it was compiling a list of people with hearing loss, heart conditions, blood pressure problems and other conditions. The company then sold these lists to health care providers and conducted direct mail campaigns on behalf of the providers.

Under terms of the settlement, ADM is prohibited from misrepresenting the purpose of its surveys and must disclose that the information obtained could be used for marketing purposes. ADM and Hodges also agreed to pay $25,000 in civil penalties as part of the settlement.

Hodges was not immediately available for comment.

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