For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: July 21, 2008
Wasden Stops Deceptive Solicitation Practices by Three Telemarketers
(Boise) – A California charity must stop telephone fundraising in Idaho and two other telemarketers must change their business practices, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced. Those are among the terms of legal settlements with the Coalition of Police and Sheriffs (“COPS”), Elite Sponsors and Quality Aire Systems.
“It is unlawful for a company to send an invoice for payment when the customer has never agreed to make a charitable contribution,” Attorney General Wasden said. “Additionally, it is a violation of the Idaho Consumer Protection Act to use a survey as a guise to generate sales leads.”
The terms and conditions of the settlement agreements with the three companies are:
Idaho consumers complained that they received a bill for $20 from COPS, a charity located in Santa Ana, California, even though the consumers never agreed to contribute money. Another consumer complained that COPS continued calling her 93-year-old mother despite her requests to stop calling and sent the elderly woman a $20 invoice.
COPS claimed the invoices were part of a mass mailing the company initiated but that another business, Elite Sponsors, LLC, was responsible for COPS’ charitable telephone solicitation activities.
As part of the resolution of the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office, COPS agreed that it will no longer conduct charitable solicitations in Idaho. The business faces a civil penalty of up to $10,000 if it violates the settlement agreement.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the company must register to telemarket, comply with the National Do Not Call Registry, discontinue its invoice solicitations and disclose its physical address in all of its written charitable solicitations. Elite Sponsors maintains a mail drop box in Boise but is located in Vancouver, Washington. When calling Idahoans, Elite Sponsors must disclose all terms and conditions of the solicitation, and, if it is calling on behalf of a law enforcement organization, it must disclose that it is not affiliated with any Idaho law enforcement agency.
Elite Sponsors paid $1,500 to reimburse the Attorney General’s Office for fees and costs. The business faces a $10,000 penalty if it violates the settlement agreement.
QUALITY AIRE SYSTEMS
Quality Aire Systems, a Garden City, Idaho, business that sells vacuum cleaners and air-purifying systems, agreed to change its business practices. Consumers complained that Quality Aire Systems claimed it was conducting a health survey when its actual purpose was to generate sales leads. Consumers also complained that the company kept calling them despite requests to stop and that it called consumers whose telephone numbers were registered on the National Do Not Call Registry.
Quality Aire Systems was required to reimburse the Attorney General’s Office $1,773 for fees and costs and faces a $5,000 penalty if the company violates the settlement agreement. The company did not admit any wrongdoing.
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