Zoeller gets telemarketer to pay $15,000 settlement

Keith Loria Sep. 9, 2009, 4:38pm


INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline)- Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller reached a $15,000 settlement Tuesday with a telemarketing firm that was accused of deceptive messaging.

The Republican AG alleged that Sonnenschein Financial Services, Inc., and Sonnenschein Marketing Services, LLC, violated Indiana's Do Not Call law by pestering people with dozens of pre-recorded "robo-calls."

The suit, originally filed by former Attorney General Steve Carter, claimed the two Sonnenschein companies called 78 Indiana households that had signed up for Indiana's Do Not Call list and then played them a pre-recorded sales message without asking their permission or giving them a chance to opt out.

The message talked about a supposed contest people had entered with a chance to win a car, but it was a misrepresentation itself, since the consumers had not entered a contest or drawing for an automobile and the company did not identify itself by its true name, he said.

"These telemarketers were brazen: Calling people who asked not to be called and playing them a recorded message they did not want to hear announcing they had won a contest they did not enter," Zoeller said.

"Fortunately in Indiana, we have strong telephone privacy laws on the books to penalize this sort of deceptive and illegal conduct."

Although both parties admitted to no wrongdoing, they agreed to a court injunction prohibiting them from engaging in such tactics again and agreed to pay a civil penalty of $15,000 to the State.

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