The Federal Trade Commission says that the defendants behind National Card Monitor LLC are permanently barred from telemarketing and must turn over all of their remaining funds in order to settle charges that it tricked consumers into paying money on bogus promises of lower credit card interest rates.
National Card Monitor cold-called consumers nationwide beginning in 2011 and falsely claimed that it could get low-rate credit cards for consumers, onto which they could transfer any current balances, according to the FTC. The telemarketers requested an advance fee of between $499 and $599 from consumers, assuring them that they would get a full refund if they did not get a new card.
The agency says most consumers who paid the fee found that the company failed to secure a new card and that getting a "guaranteed" refund was very difficult. It also said that National Card Monitor was not registered with the national Do Not Call registry and typically called consumers whose numbers were on the registry.
The FTC shut the business down in 2012 and it is currently in receivership. Those running the receivership could not be reached immediately for comment.
As part of the settlement announced Tuesday, the defendants behind National Card Monitor LLC, who are based in Arizona, are banned from telemarketing and from selling credit-related services.
The settlement imposed a judgment of $2.3 million, which the FTC says represents the amount of consumer harm they caused. The FTC said that the judgment will be suspended upon the payment of all frozen funds remaining after payment of final receivership expenses. The full judgment will come due if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial situation. A representative for the FTC could not be reached immediately for further clarification.
The order was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona and signed by a judge on Monday.