Illegal Robocall Operation Charged by FTC, Florida Attorney General
The complaint alleges that the defendants cheated consumers out of more than $15.6 million
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued charges against Life Management Services for blitzing consumers with illegal robocalls.
The agency, in cooperation with the Office of the Florida Attorney General, is alleging that a web of related defendants based in Orlando, FL contacted individuals in an attempt to sell them phony credit-card interest rate reduction and debt relief services. The complaint claims that the defendants' scheme cheated consumers out of more than $15.6 million since at least January 2013.
As a result of these charges, a federal district court in Orlando has issued a temporary injunction against Life Management Services prohibiting all activity, pending the result of an upcoming hearing.
"This is the latest effort by the FTC and our international, state, and federal law enforcement partners to stop illegal robocalling operations that harass consumers day and night with unwanted calls," Jessica Rich said in a written statement. Rich is the Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
"These scammers use robocalls to hide their identities and exploit consumers," Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement. "Working jointly with the FTC, our actions to stop these schemes and hold the scammers responsible will not only keep Floridians from falling victim to these scams, but also protect consumers nationwide."
The alleged deception involved the defendants fraudulently claiming that they would work with the consumer's credit card company or bank to substantially and permanently lower their credit card interest rates. The defendants used generic names such as "Bank Card Services" and "Credit Assistance Program," and claimed to be a "licensed enrollment center" for major credit card networks like MasterCard and Visa.
Life Management Services representatives told consumers that the company could save them thousands of dollars in a short period and allow them to pay off credit card balances three to five times faster. This service, however, would require an up-front payment of between $500 and $5,000. Upon payment, the defendants would make a rudimentary attempt to contact the credit card company, but were almost never able to deliver on their promises.
In addition, the defendants pitched a bogus credit card debt-elimination service, promising consumers that they could access money from a government fund to pay off credit card debt in 18 months. Access to this service would cost between $2,500 and $20,000. In reality, no such government fund exists, and the initial payment plunged consumers deeper into debt.
The charges indicate that Life Management Services has violated the FTC Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. The FTC and Florida Attorney General's Office are seeking to permanently stop the company's practices and secure money for consumer refunds.