PHOENIX (CN) - Sleazy robocallers "defrauded thousands of consumers nationwide out of millions of dollars" by falsely promising to reduce their credit card rates for $900, Arizona and the FTC claim in court.
In separate complaints, Arizona and the FTC say the defendants refuse to return their suckers' money after the victims find out that the real "product" they bought is just a so-called "custom debt analysis."
The defendants make robocalls, claiming to be from "Cardmember Services," and promise they can save each victim at least $2,500 by reducing his or her credit card interest rate, Arizona says in its complaint.
Consumers who fall for it are "immediately charged a fee of $900 or more via credit card, reassured by the offer of a money-back guarantee if the promised savings do not materialize," Arizona claims in Maricopa County Court.
The FTC sued virtually the same list of defendants, in Federal Court.
The defendants lead consumers to believe they are employees of their credit card companies "or that they have a special relationship with consumers' credit card companies that will enable them to obtain lower interest rates for consumers," Arizona's lawsuit claims.
The defendants claim they "will negotiate with the credit card companies on their behalf and/or that defendants will obtain a new credit card for them with a zero-percent interest rate," Arizona says.
When consumers "eventually realize that defendants' only actual product is a 'custom debt analysis' or payoff plan calculating the savings if consumers were to pay higher monthly amounts to their higher interest rate cards," the defendants refuse to refund the $900, claiming that "this payoff plan, if followed, will save consumers $2,500 in interest over time, and therefore their money-back guarantee has been met."
Arizona says the defendants begin "operations under a new name and new mailing address, continuing the same fraudulent business practices" if too many consumers complain about their treatment.
The part of the phone call "where consumers appear to be agreeing to pay for a service that is materially different from what has been described on the full sales call" is recorded and used by the defendants "to rebut any claims of fraud made by consumers when they attempt to dispute the charges with their credit card companies," the complaint states.
Named as defendants are ELH Consulting dba Proactive Planning Solutions; Purchase Power Solutions; Allied Corporate Connection; Complete Financial Strategies; 3Point14 Consultants dba Elite Planning Group; Key Tech Software Solutions dba Key One Solutions; Emory L. Holley IV aka Jack Holley of Maricopa County, sole member of EH Consulting; Lisa Miller of Maricopa County, sole member of Allied Corporate Connection; Rares Stelea of Las Vegas, sole members of 3Point14 Consultants; and Justin Journay of Strongsville, Ohio, sole member of Key Tech Software Solutions; Betsy Valorose, director of Financial Management Partners; and Eric Pugh, of Florida.Follow @jamierossCNS
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