An operation accused of selling worthless prep materials for U.S. Postal service jobs that didn’t exist will pay $105,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that the scam violated federal law.
The FTC charged that the operation misrepresented an affiliation with the USPS, the availability of postal jobs, and that a passing score on a postal entrance exam guaranteed applicants a job.
Using their test preparation materials would not help anyone pass the postal exam, contrary to the defendants’ claims, the FTC said.
The complaint and stipulated final order for permanent injunction were entered in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on Aug. 29. The defendants, Jeffrey Charles Lord and his company, Job Resources Inc., are based in Tennessee.
The FTC alleged that the defendants ran classified ads across the nation in employment guides and newspapers. The ads led consumers to believe that the defendants were hiring for postal jobs and were connected with, or endorsed by, the USPS, the FTC alleged. Consumers were charged a “registration fee” of $108.80.
Applicants for many entry-level postal jobs are required to take a postal examination, but the tests are usually offered only every few years in any particular district. Also, there are no job placement guarantees based on score. If applicants pass the test by scoring at least 70 out of 100, they are placed on a register ranked by their score. When a position becomes available, the local post office looks to the applicable register for that geographic location and calls the top three applicants. The score is only one of many criteria taken into account for employment.
Information on postal jobs is available at local post offices, and applicants generally receive a free packet of information about required exams.
The order prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting any material fact about products they are selling and enters a $2,093,183 suspended judgment against the defendants – the total amount of consumer injury. Based on financial documents filed by the defendants, they will pay $105,000 because they are unable to pay more.
Also Aug. 31, the FTC published a Federal Register notice concerning the collection of information for a proposed survey on the sharing of consumer credit information among affiliated companies.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act requires the FTC, along with the federal banking agencies and the National Credit Union Administration, to jointly conduct regular studies of the consumer information sharing practices by financial institutions and other people that are creditors or users of consumer reports with their affiliates.
The agencies are seeking public comments on, among other things,
1) Whether the information collection is necessary for the proper performance of the agencies’ functions, including whether the information has practical use.
2) The accuracy of the agencies’ estimates of the burden of the information-collection process.
3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected.
4) Ways to minimize the burden of information collection, including the use of automated collection techniques and methods.
The agencies are accepting public comments for 60 days.