DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced on Thursday that he reached an agreement with an Urbandale magazine subscription telemarketing company that allegedly engaged in dishonest magazine solicitation practices.
Heartland Inc.'s employees allegedly used deceptive tactics and abusive collection practices in sales calls, many of which were aimed at senior citizens.
Miller's office received complaints from consumers - some on the Do Not Call List - accusing Heartland of posing as their current magazine vendor in an effort to get personal and financial information from them. Many consumers were also asked about assuming new payment obligations, which helped Heartland learn credit card, debit card and checking account information, Miller says.
Under terms of the agreement, Heartland, two of its principals -- Theresa "Teri" Kruse and Chris Myers -- and a successor company called PCCS LLC, have agreed to stop all telemarketing in the state.
For the next two years, Heartland must also refund money to any customers who file complaints regarding the way they were solicited or billed by the company. Heartland will also stop any further collections against customers who submit complaints about the way they were solicited.
Heartland is also required to explain any denial to a customer who has requested a refund but is given anything less than the full amount. In these cases, the company must justify to Miller in writing why the customer was denied.
Heartland also noted that it understood that if they violate the terms of this agreement, it would be in violation of Iowa's Consumer Fraud Act, which could result in a $40,000 civil penalty for each violation.