The Federal Trade Commission said yesterday it shut down businesses posing as a nonprofit that illegally billed consumers and violated the national no-call list.
Donald J. Lasker, Bonnie Kriebel and their businesses, Frankly Speaking Inc. and Plasticash Inc., victimized tens of thousands of consumers by calling them with prerecorded telemarketing messages and then billing them without their consent, the FTC said. The agency obtained an order May 16 from a U.S. District Court judge in Albany, GA, barring Lasker and Kriebel from telemarketing in the future.
The prerecorded messages offered free vacation travel, magazine subscriptions and other products for $9.95 in shipping and handling fees, the FTC said. The messages told consumers to “press 1” or hang up if they weren't interested.
Regardless of what action they took, consumers received a bill for $9.95, the FTC said. Lasker's operation had obtained their credit card information in advance, the agency said, and consumers often didn't notice the charge until they checked their billing statements or found a “thank you” letter from Lasker in the mail.
Lasker also called telephone numbers registered for the no-call list, the FTC said, and in some cases failed to pay the required fees to obtain access to portions of the no-call list he needed.
Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing 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