LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a cease and desist order Tuesday against a Southfield-based professional fundraiser to stop the company from using a misleading telemarketing rebuttal.
Associated Community Services allegedly used a misleading telemarketing script with a credit card rebuttal emphasizing that the business was on file with Schuette's office. Schuette alleges that the rebuttal misled donors into thinking that because ACS was on file with Schuette's office, it could be trusted with the donors' credit card information.
The fact that ACS is on file with Schuette's office means it is licensed to fundraise on behalf of Michigan charities and says nothing about its ability to protect credit card information. Schuette alleges that because the credit card rebuttal implies otherwise, the rebuttal is in violation of state law.
"Our seniors are vulnerable to deceptive fundraising tactics used by pushy telemarketers," Schuette said. "That's why state law requires honesty by professional fundraisers. We will not tolerate deceptive fundraising tactics, especially those that abuse the name of this office to deceive donors."
The order includes a notice of intended action describing ACS's alleged violations of the Charitable Organizations and Solicitations Act, including submitting a document containing a materially false statement to Schuette's office, misleading a donor to believe Schuette's office approved or endorsed ACS's credit card payment system and using a device or scheme to obtain money from a person by means of misleading, deceptive or false representation or pretense.
Schuette intends to file a civil action against ACS, seeking fines of up to $10,000 for each alleged violation of state charitable trust law.