Among the various products pitched were worthless extended auto warranties and credit card interest rate-reduction programs, the FTC said.
The final settlement order against SBN Peripherals, which did business as Asia Pacific Telecom Inc., is part of the FTC’s ongoing crackdown on deceptive robo-callers.
The order bans the defendants from telemarketing and requires them to give up roughly $3 million in assets.
The FTC alleges that the defendants made illegal prerecorded phone calls falsely claiming the caller had urgent information about the consumer’s auto warranty or credit card interest rate.
Consumers who pressed “1” for more information were transferred to telemarketers who used fraudulent practices to sell inferior extended auto service contracts or worthless debt-reduction services, the FTC said.
According to court papers filed by the court-appointed receiver, from January 2008 through August 2009, the defendants completed about 2.6 billion outbound robo-calls that were answered by about 1.6 billion consumers – 12.8 million of whom were connected to a sales agent.
The robo-calling operations allegedly violated the law by using robo-calls to contact consumers without their written permission and called telephones listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.
Under the proposed settlement order, Repo B.V.; SBN Peripherals Inc., doing business as SBN Dials; Johan Hendrik Smit Duyzentkunst; and Janneke Bakker-Smit Duyzentkunst are banned from telemarketing.
The order imposes a $5.3 million judgment that will be suspended, based on their inability to pay, when they have surrendered assets valued at approximately $3 million, including more than $1 million obtained from a bank account in Hong Kong, a $375,000 lien on a home, a 50 percent interest in an office building in Saipan, the defendants’ interest in seven parcels of undeveloped land, as well as three cars and a recreational vehicle.
To learn more about telemarketing scams, read Who’s Calling? Recognize and Report Phone Fraud, You Make the Call: The FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the FTC’s new consumer alert, Robocalls are Illegal: Scammers Use False Caller IDs to Hide. T