Pennsylvania AG Sues Lead Generators Over Fraudulent Ads – Dodd-Frank, Consumer Protection Act | So Good News


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On November 2, 2022, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office filed a federal lawsuit alleging that a group of lead service companies are violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”), 16 CFR Part 310, and the Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Act, 73 PS §§ 201-3 and 201-4, for engaging in two inappropriate advertising practices. First, the defendants allegedly used deceptive online advertisements to lure customers to websites that could be tricked into providing information and survey responses, and second, their information and responses were allegedly sold to illegal mobile phone vendors, even to government or national customers. -not-call lists.

According to the complaint, the defendants operate “numerous websites designed to lead,” including, and, that advertise “gift cards to popular retailers and digital payments to mobile apps” to consumers in exchange. and answering research questions. These websites encourage visitors to provide their information and click a box to agree to a fine print stating that they will receive recorded calls and text messages from marketing partners for the purpose of telemarketing, whose names are disclosed to customers and hyperlinked. list. Similarly, the questionnaires that customers are asked to answer on these sites also include a good note stating that by clicking on certain answers, customers give permission to be contacted by marketing partners, even if they are on the no-call registries. However, the complaint alleges that these disclosures are insufficient because they are “obscured by [images] The complaint also states that the consent obtained from these customers is invalid because in order for a person to remove his register from the do not call list and allow the telemarketer to start sending text messages, there must be a direct agreement between the telemarketer and the customer. must be obtained directly by a salesperson or telemarketer from a consumer,” not by a lead generator.

The attorney general’s office intends to base its theory of complaint on the TSR’s position that subpoenas on the do-not-call list cannot be obtained on behalf of third parties on the FTC’s Notice and Purpose Basis of the 2008 Amendments to the TSR. published in the Federal Register. There, the FTC made a statement in response to comments on the rulemaking as to whether the license is transferrable. The FTC stated that “the consumer’s and seller’s agreement to receive telephone calls that provide pre-recorded messages is unenforceable,” and “[a]A party other than the seller must negotiate with the consumer to accept pre-recorded telephone calls.” 73 Fed. Reg. 51163, 51182 (Aug. 2008). The FTC concluded that “[p]Re-recorded calls made to consumers on the National Do Not Call Registry by third parties not affiliated with the consumer may violate the TSR. ” Id. Although the attorney general relies on the 2008 Notice and the Foundation of Purpose, the document does not answer the legal question of whether the consumer can agree to request and give permission for communications from third parties and is a new myth.

According to the complaint, the defendants’ websites also violate consumer protection laws because they “create[] possibility of confusion or misunderstanding” by “failure[ing] including clear disclosures advising consumers that by registering their information with the defendants they are agreeing to be contacted by many third party vendors, whose goods and services do not match their advertising. “

The attorney general’s office is seeking, among other remedies, civil penalties of $1,000 per violation or $3,000 per injury involving a victim over the age of 60, disgorgement of profits, and a permanent ban on selling consumer products in violation of the TSR.

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