A number of claims may be brought against telemarketers. Claims may be filed in court under the Consumer Fraud Act or Deceptive Practices statute, or a governmental entity such as the FTC may be contacted.
1. Deceptive Debt Relief Scheme
Various deceptions have been identified.
“The telemarketers generally began their calls by congratulating consumers for qualifying for a special expense reduction program or asking whether the consumer was interested in decreasing his or her debts. Telemarketers generally stated that they were affiliated with the consumer’s creditors or lenders, were calling on behalf of the government, or had special relationships with creditors or lenders that enabled them to negotiate debt management deals that were unobtainable by other service providers.”
2. Standard on Fraud Claims
In governmental claims, the FTC must demonstrate that “(1) there was a representation; (2) the representation was likely to mislead customers acting reasonably under the circumstances, and (3) the representation was material. Similarly, in private claims, the victim must identify where and when the statement was made, and why it is false, deceptive, and material.
A representation is material if it is likely to affect a consumer’s decision to buy a product or service. Int’l Comp. Concepts, 1995 WL 767810, at *2. In the debt relief case, the Court said, Defendants’ representations regarding their ability to negotiate incredible debt settlement deals were certainly material. A number of Defendants’ customers stated in their declarations that they had chosen not to sign with other debt relief service providers who were unable to make promises similar to those made by Defendants. Defendants’ statements promising up to 70 percent reductions in mortgage or credit card debt would affect any consumer’s decision to buy Defendants’ services.
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