HARRISBURG – A Rhode Island home security alarm company, a Florida-based septic system company and a New York porcelain company must pay investigation costs and fines to resolve complaints from consumers who received solicitation calls while enrolled on Pennsylvania’s Do Not Call list.
Attorney General Tom Corbett said that the Bureau of Consumer Protection (BCP) entered into legal agreements in Commonwealth Court with Versatile Marketing Solutions, Inc., doing business as VMS Alarms, Suite 205, Providence, RI; FBK Products, LLC, Boynton Beach, FL; and Dynasty French Porcelain, Ltd., New York, NY.
Corbett said that under the agreements, each business must pay civil penalties and investigative costs. Ten percent of the civil penalties must be paid to consumers who filed complaints that led to legal action.
In addition, both the owners and businesses must fully comply with Pennsylvania law while conducting any future business in the Commonwealth.
Versatile Marketing Solutions Inc. aka VMS Alarms
Corbett said that the agreement with VMS Alarms ends an investigation into claims that the company violated the Telemarketing Registration Act by soliciting business from consumers who were enrolled in Pennsylvania’s Do Not Call registry.
Additionally, the company allegedly continued to make telemarketing calls to consumers who indicated that they no longer wanted to receive calls from the company and violated the Telemarketer Registration Act by telemarketing in Pennsylvania prior to registering with the Attorney General’s Office, as required by law.
Corbett said that the company registered as a telemarketer in February 2009, after receiving a warning letter from the Bureau of Consumer Protection. However, consumer complaints against the company continued to be filed.
Corbett said that VMS Alarms called and offered consumers free home security systems manufactured by General Electric, if the consumer purchased monitoring services. In some instances, the company stated that the consumer had “won” or “been selected to receive” the security systems.
Investigators found that in many cases the company continued to call consumers even after being asked to stop.
Corbett said that Versatile Marketing Solutions is required to pay $28,000 in civil penalties and costs.
FBK Products, LLC
Corbett said that the agreement with FBK Products, LLC resolves an investigation into complaints that the company repeatedly called and solicited business from consumers who were enrolled in Pennsylvania’s Do Not Call registry.
The company allegedly continued to make telemarketing calls to consumers who indicated that they no longer wanted to receive calls from the company.
Corbett said that FBK Products sells household maintenance products for homes with septic systems.
FBK Products is required to pay $15,000 in civil penalties and costs.
Dynasty French Porcelain
Corbett said that the investigation into Dynasty French Porcelain resolves complaints that the company solicited business from consumers who were enrolled on the Do Not Call list and conducted business in Pennsylvania without obtaining a certificate of authority.
According to investigators, the company allegedly used misleading claims that they produced French porcelain, when in reality they purchased the products and resold them.
Corbett said that the company called consumers to invite them to sales presentations held at various hotels, where they sold porcelain tableware manufactured in Limoges, France.
Additionally, Dynasty French Porcelain used a contract that did not contain notices of the buyer’s right to cancel the contract, which is required by the Federal Trade Commission’s Cooling-Off Rule.
Corbett said that approximately 226 consumers who are entitled to payments as part of this settlement will be contacted directly by the Attorney General’s Office.
The settlements were negotiated by Deputy Attorney General Michael Gerdes of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Consumers may register their telephone number online, by calling the Do Not Call hotline at 1-888-777-3406, or by mailing their name, mailing address, telephone number and signature to the Attorney General’s Office.
Corbett said that there is an added registration feature that is only available on the website, which allows consumers to verify their enrollment. Online registrants will also be able to read Frequently Asked Questions, which explain the Do Not Call list and its functions.
Telemarketers who violate the provisions of the law could face a civil penalty of $1,000 per violation. The penalty could increase to $3,000 in the call is placed to a person age 60 or older who is registered on the Do Not Call list.
Consumers who are on the Do Not Call list and feel that they have received a telemarketing call that is not exempt can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at www.attorneygeneral.gov or by calling 1-888-777-3406.