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PSC, FTC put robocaller out of telemarketing business

JACKSON — The Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) along with the Federal Trade Commission have exchanged information and put a robocaller out of the telemarketing business, according to Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley. The telemarketers were allegedly responsible for billions of calls and will give up assets totaling roughly $3 million under an FTC order.

The telemarketers made more than $2 billion in calls nationwide pitching a variety of products and services, including worthless extended auto warranties and credit card interest rate reductions. The Mississippi PSC received over 50 complaints from consumers in the Northern District that were traced to the defendants.

Presley said the defendants allegedly violated the law by using robocalls to contact consumers without their written permission and called telephones listed on both the Mississippi and National Do Not Call Registry. To make it difficult for consumers to identify the seller, the FTC also alleged that the defendants’ robocalls often transmitted caller ID information vaguely identifying the caller as “SALES DEPT” and displaying telephone numbers registered to an offshore company it controlled called Asia Pacific Telecom.

Under the proposed settlement order with the FTC, Repo B.V., SBN Peripherals Inc., doing business as SBN Dials Johan Hendrik Smit Duyzentkunst, and Janneke Bakker-Smit Duyzentkunst are banned from telemarketing. The order also prohibits them from misrepresenting any good or service, and from selling or otherwise benefitting from customers’ personal information, and requires them to properly dispose of customers’ personal information within 30 days. The order imposes a $5.3 million judgment that will be suspended, based on their inability to pay, when they have surrendered assets valued at approximately $3 million, including more than $1 million obtained from a bank account in Hong Kong, a $375,000 lien on a home, a 50 percent interest in an office building in Saipan, the defendants’ interest in seven parcels of undeveloped land, as well as three cars and a recreational vehicle. The full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.

The telemarketers were allegedly responsible for billions of calls and will give up assets totaling roughly $3 million under an FTC order.

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