Saturday, November 10, 2007


Telemarketer Guardian Communications shut down by FTC

Posted at Quad City Times

Telemarketing companies face federal lawsuit

By Dustin Lemmon
Thursday, November 08, 2007

A federal lawsuit has been filed against two telemarketing companies based in Moline that have allegedly violated laws related to the national do-not-call registry and use of automated dialers.

According to the suit filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office in U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois, the companies have abandoned calls, failed to transmit caller identification information and placed calls on behalf of sellers who had not paid National Do Not Call Registry fees.

The defendants include Guardian Communications, in the 1600 block of 7th Street, United States Voice Broadcasting Inc., in the 1900 block of 7th Street, and Kevin Baker, owner and president of Guardian Communications.
Efforts to reach the defendants for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful. A phone number for Guardian Enterprises, which has the same address as Guardian Communications, was disconnected.

The Federal Trade Commission issued a news release Wednesday saying the suit is one of five nationwide filed this week against companies that have violated various telemarketing laws.
The FTC said a stipulated final order was filed with the suit and the two companies will pay $150,000 to settle the case with a remaining $7.8 million judgment suspended because they’re unable to pay.

According to the suit, since 2004 the companies through a joint venture have sold a voice message delivery service that can be used to deliver pre-recorded messages to consumers and their answering machines through a service described as “voice broadcasting.”
The sellers record a message, and the companies use an automated dialer to place calls to a database of telephone numbers either provided by the companies or the seller, the suit states, adding the companies can place up to 20 million phone calls a day.

The defendants have violated federal laws by “abandoning” or not connecting calls to a live representative within two seconds of the consumer answering the phone, the suit states.
According to the suit, the defendants have programmed their equipment to either play a recorded message to the person answering the phone or cancel the call after determining that the phone was not answered by an answering machine or voice-mail system.
“Guardian blasted phone numbers with pre-recorded telemarketing pitches, immediately terminating calls when a live consumer answered,” the FTC said in its news release.
The companies also violated laws requiring that either the name of the telemarketer or seller be displayed to the consumer’s caller ID service, the suit states, adding the calls would say “Cust Service,” “Services, Inc.,” “Card Services,” “LTR” or “DWC.”

The suit further claims that the companies since October 2003 have called numerous numbers in various area codes without their sellers having paid an annual fee for access to telephone numbers included in the National Do Not Call Registry.
The suit claims the defendants could be fined $11,000 for each violation of the FTC Telemarketing Sales Rule. The suit also asks for a court order permanently enjoining the defendants from further violations.

Dustin Lemmon can be contacted at
(563) 383-2493 or

Thanks to everybody who helped shut down this illegal telemarketer. It took over two years, but stopping 20 million calls a day should allow a few people to enjoy a peaceful dinner. Visit anti206thread to see the history of this fight.

FTC Announces Do Not Call List Crackdown

FTC Cracks Down On Firms Calling Registered Do Not Call List Users; $7.7 Million In Fines

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2007

(AP) Federal regulators on Wednesday announced nearly $7.7 million in settlements with six companies _ including Craftmatic Industries and ADT Security Services _ accused of calling people on the national Do Not Call list.

The Federal Trade Commission said Craftmatic Industries Inc., maker of adjustable beds, would pay the biggest fine _ $4.4 million in civil penalties. ADT agreed to a $2 million settlement, the FTC said.

The four other companies were: Ameriquest Mortgage Company, Alarm King, Direct Security Services and Guardian Communications.

"By bringing enforcement actions, like those announced today, we will ensure that the small number of bad actors pay a price for not adhering to the law and respecting consumers' privacy requests," said FTC chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras.

Craftmatic and three of its subsidiaries were accused by the FTC of running a sweepstakes for a Craftmatic bed and using the phone number that consumers provided on the entry form to later make sales calls to entrants even though their numbers were on the Do Not Call list.

Majoras said the company was not upfront with people that they'd be getting sales calls.

"You're really trying to fool consumers into giving up their phone number so you can turn around and call them," the chairwoman told reporters.

ADT and two of its dealers, Alarm King and Direct Security Services, were accused of directly marketing security systems to consumers who had placed their numbers on the list.

Ameriquest, the FTC said, got phone numbers of people on the registry from so-called lead generators _ companies that get contact numbers from people by using Web sites that promise information on financial and other products. Ameriquest then used the phone numbers from the lead generators to improperly call people on the Do Not Call registry, the agency said. The FTC said Ameriquest would pay $1 million in civil penalties.

The last settlement involved Guardian Communications of Moline, Ill., which the FTC accused of "blasting" millions of calls to phone numbers on the registry with pre-recorded telemarketing pitches. Guardian will pay $150,000 to settle the charges, the commission said.

Majoras also said the Justice Department, acting on the FTC's behalf, will allege in a federal court complaint that California-based Global Mortgage Funding made hundreds of thousands of calls to consumers on the Do Not Call registry.

The registry prohibits telemarketers from calling phone numbers on the list. Companies face fines of up to $11,000 for each violation.

Organizations engaged in charitable, political or survey work are exempt. Companies that have an established business relationship with a customer also may call for up to 18 months after the last purchase, payment or delivery.

The latest enforcement actions bring to 34 the number of Do Not Call cases the government has filed against companies since the registry began in June 2003. The biggest case to date involved satellite television provider DirecTV Inc., which paid a $5.3 million settlement.

At the news conference, Majoras reiterated that the agency no longer plans to automatically purge phone numbers on the registry that begin expiring next summer. Each number on the registry was good for five years and then would have to be re-registered by the consumer. The agency decided to reverse course, however, last month as Congress considers legislation that would make the phone numbers on the Do Not Call list permanent.
Very nice links to the left, Mike's blog is hilarious. Wanted to contribute with a suggestion but there's no contact form. which is used for reporting annoying telemarketers.

Thank you
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