This was a case of telemarketers with liar-liar, pants-on-fire syndrome. A Federal District Court judge in Pennsylvania agreed with the Federal Trade Commission
that a group of telemarketers using a web of corporate names lied and cheated consumers when they called to sell so-called discount health plans.
Federal Judge Juan R. Sánchez said, “All defendants have acted with reckless disregard for the financial interest and security of thousands of consumers. They have demonstrated their continued ability, desire, and success in committing the same deceptive acts. The danger of recurrent violations is real.”
That’s why he banned five people and the companies they were affiliated with including NHS Systems, National Healthcare Solutions and National Health on Line from telemarketing, charging consumers’ bank accounts and making false and misleading statements. He also ordered them to pay $6.9 million, which is the amount they took from consumers.
The FTC says, “During sales calls telemarketers led consumers to believe they were from, or affiliated with, U.S. government agencies, including the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, and Medicare. They promised consumers that they would receive substantial deposits into their bank accounts – in the form of grants, tax refunds, or tax rebates – if they first provided their account or credit card information. In many instances, the callers told consumers that they had been unconditionally selected.”
Instead, consumers were charged $29.95 for health care information, $299.95 to enroll and $19.95 per month thereafter. They then found themselves in a phony “discount health care program” they never agreed to buy.
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