(Try saying that title ten times fast)
In March of this year the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stepped up it’s efforts against scams that targeted financially strapped consumers with more than 90 actions brought by the commission and its law enforcement partners in a investigation called “Operation Empty Promises.”
Within this investigation the FTC looked into Brian Hessler and Business Recovery Services’ do-it-yourself kits to help consumers recover money lost to business opportunities and work-at-home operations. The kits were claimed to be tailored to particular schemes and cost up to $499. The FTC alleged that they violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) by misrepresenting the nature and effectiveness of their services, and accepting advance payments from consumers for recovering money lost in previous telemarketing transactions without waiting seven business days for the consumers to receive the recovered money, as required by the Rule. According to other documents filed in court, consumers lost an estimated total of $1.5 million in this scheme – Source.
In March the Department of Justice (DOJ) requested that the court issue a preliminary order to stop the defendants from taking advance fees from consumers for the duration of the case and the injunction was filed in April.
It was announced today that a federal judge has found Hessler and the company in contempt for violating the court order barring them from charging consumers in advance for a service that purportedly would help consumers recover money they lost in previous telemarketing scams.
The contempt order requires the defendants to make refunds to some consumers and gives them 30 days to show that their business practices comply with the court’s preliminary injunction. The court will assess a $1,000 per day fine for every day they fail to certify compliance. For every violation of the injunction that the FTC can prove after the contempt order, the court will assess a $1,000 fine and order refunds to customers – Source.
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