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FTC cracks down on robocalls hawking deceptive credit card rates

Consumer Reports News: November 01, 2012 03:53 PM

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Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, praised the Federal Trade Commission's legal action today against five companies accused of making millions of illegal prerecorded calls to pitch allegedly deceptive offers of reducing credit-card interest rates in exchange for staggering upfront fees.

The FTC said the telemarketer calls sometimes identified themselves as "Cardholder Services," suggesting they were associated with your bank or credit card company. The telemarketers guaranteed a lower rate, but then did little to nothing to secure that rate. The upfront fees ranged from several hundred dollars to nearly $3,000.

"We're glad [the FTC is] taking a hard line against shady robocalls that may be trying to scam you with phony offers," says Ellen Bloom, Director of Federal Policy for Consumers Union. "The complaints against these companies suggest a level of deception that is absolutely shameless."

If you get a robocall hang up. Don't press 1 to get an operator, and don't press any other number to get off the robocaller's list, because that will probably just lead to more calls. You can add your number to the do-not-call list for free, sign up at National Do Not Call Registry, or call 888-382-1222 from the number you want removed. Granted, being on the do-not-call-list does not always save you from these annoying calls, as we've reported before.

If you're in the market for a new home phone, our cordless phone Ratings include models with caller ID.

To find the best credit card for your spending needs, read our recent report on 53 popular credit cards, plus our guide to credit cards.

To report a robocall to the FTC visit the agency's Complaint Assistant, or call 877-382-4357.

Sources:
FTC Leads Joint Law Enforcement Effort Against Companies That Allegedly Made Deceptive "Cardholder Services" Robocalls [FTC]
Consumers Union praises FTC crackdown on "Cardholder Services" robocalls [Consumers Union]

Maggie Shader

   

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