The Federal Trade Commission and defendants in a debt collection operation have reached a proposed settlement, after the FTC had alleged in its complaint that the defendants knew, or should have known, that not all the magazine subscription debts they were trying to collect on were valid. There’s also a line in there about pretending to be Ed McMahon, which is just so wrong.
According to a press release from the FTC, the defendants, Luebke Baker and Associates, Inc. had violated the FTC Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Telemarketing Sales Rule, according to the complaint.
The settlement order would bar the defendants and others from making a consumer believe they owe a debt, without a reasonable basis to do so, and from making any other misrepresentations when trying to collect debts or sell goods and services.
The defendants must provide consumers with disclosures about their rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, says the proposed settlement. Originally, the defendants had allegedly collected on debts for magazine subscriptions even though the FTC had succeeded in suing the company that originally sold those subscriptions for deceptive marketing.
The FTC says the defendants ignored all that and still told consumers they had to pay up. Beyond that, the complaint alleges that the defendants “illegally masked their identity and sent false information over caller ID, falsely posing as Ed McMahon, attorneys from a law firm, and other entities.”
Posing as Ed McMahon? Have you no shame?