PA Telemarketer Agrees to Ban, Restitution

Share this article:
A company accused of using phone agents posing as police officers in telemarketing fundraising calls has agreed to cease operations in Pennsylvania, the state's attorney general said yesterday.


Although the company denied the allegations in the settlement, it agreed to file articles of dissolution with the state. A spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania attorney general's office said the company has a year to comply with the settlement.


The agreement between Liberty Publishing Co. Inc., Pittsburgh, and attorney general Mike Fisher called for the company to pay $75,000 in fines and restitution to consumers who donated money. Company owner George W. Lee agreed to forfeit rights to conduct fundraising for any charity or public safety group until 2006, at which time he must pay an additional $75,000 in restitution to regain his rights.


According to the lawsuit filed by the state in January, Liberty Publishing Co. conducted fundraising activities for several law enforcement groups, including the Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police, the Central Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association and the County and State Detectives Association of Pennsylvania.


Since 1996, the company raised more than $3 million for the organizations, the state said. However, according to the lawsuit, during telemarketing calls the company's telephone representatives falsely implied that they were police officers and that stickers, decals and membership cards offered in exchange for donations could result in special treatment by police.


Some of those called by the company reported that agents became abusive and intimidating when consumers declined donations, and some consumers received invoices without their consent or invoices for a bigger donation than they had agreed to make, according to the lawsuit. Consumers were often told their donations would be used for police training or in "crime fighting," when in fact donations went solely to the organizations, the state charged.


Furthermore, the state accused Liberty Publishing of using convicted felons for fundraising in violation of the state's Charity Act. Fisher also charged the company with failure to register with the state and post a $25,000 bond before beginning its activities.


Share this article:
You must be a registered member of Direct Marketing News to post a comment.

Sign up to our newsletters

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

Featured Listings

More in Data/Analytics

Analytics vs. Instincts

Analytics vs. Instincts

Even for the savviest marketers, finding the right balance of analytics and gut instincts can prove to be difficult.

MeritDirect Opens San Jose Office

MeritDirect Opens San Jose Office

A force in direct mail, the company looks to expand its digital data services with a footprint in Silicon Valley.

Neustar Decides to Hand Data Over to its Clients

Neustar Decides to Hand Data Over to its ...

AK Media Insights Pro turns data over to marketers to create business-specific aggregations, integrate offline efforts, and probe deeper into their sales funnels.