Madigan files suit against telemarketers

Nick Rees Nov. 10, 2009, 3:31pm


CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit that targets an alleged telemarketing scam promising consumers immediate reduction of credit card interest rates.

Priority Direct Marketing International, Inc., based in Bedford, Texas, and Advanced Management services NW, LLC, based in Spokane, Wash., are named in Madigan's suit, filed in Sangamon County.

"During these difficult economic times, consumers are understandably looking for ways to ease the burdens of rising debt," Madigan said.

"But I urge consumers to be wary when solicitors try to make tempting claims of 'immediate' savings. In such cases, the schemers rarely deliver and usually leave consumers in an even worse financial situation than before."

Madigan's suit alleges that the two companies, working in tandem, solicit and enroll consumers through a telemarketing scheme in deceptive debt negotiation service agreements that promise to immediately reduce consumers' credit card interest rates. The telemarketers offer a guaranteed savings of $2,5000 and allegedly promise consumers full refunds will be given if the companies do no successfully negotiate lower interest rates for the consumers.

Upon signing up for the plan, the telemarketing companies allegedly charged consumers' credit cards for set-up fees that ranged from $391-$1,590. Consumers are allegedly told the fees will be reimbursed at a later date by the consumers' banks.

Consumers only receive any documentation of the program's terms and conditions once the setup fees are charged. The documentation, on several points, contradicts the telemarketers' claims, the suit claims.

The companies are charged with violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act through their misrepresentation of services provide to consumers and the effects the services will have on consumers' credit.

Madigan's suit asks the court to enter a permanent injunction to bar the companies from engaging in debt settlement practices in Illinois and to order restitution be paid for complainants as well as civil penalties of $50,000 for violating the Consumer Fraud Act. The suit also calls for an additional $50,000 for each violation committed with the intent to defraud.

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