The defendants who operated a Florida-based tech support scheme that the Federal Trade Commission and State of Florida charged deceived thousands of consumers, will pay $10 million for consumer redress to settle the action.
According to the complaint, defendant Inbound Call Experts, doing business as Advanced Tech Support along with other defendants, used high-pressure sales pitches to telemarket tech support products and services falsely claiming to find viruses and malware on consumers’ computers.
The stipulated final court order prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting that they have identified performance or security issues on consumers’ computers and from making any other misrepresentations while selling a product or service. Under the order, a federal judge will appoint a monitor to oversee the defendants’ business for two years, at the defendants’ expense. In addition, the order requires the defendants to review the business practices of any third-party lead generators from whom they get leads.
To fund the $10 million redress judgment, the order requires the defendants to transfer $5.75 million of their assets held in escrow by their attorneys to the FTC within 7 days after the order is signed by the judge, and to transfer an additional $2.25 million within 30 days. In addition, the court-appointed receiver will promptly transfer another $2 million of defendants’ assets to the FTC.
A negotiated settlement with the lead generator defendants in this action was announced in July 2016. The stipulated order announced today against the telemarketing defendants resolves the case.
In addition to Inbound Call Experts, the telemarketing defendants include Advanced Tech Supportco LLC; PC Vitalware LLC; Super PC Support LLC; Robert D. Deignan, Paul M. Herdsman and Justin M. Wright.
The Commission vote approving the stipulated final order was 3-0. The FTC filed the proposed order in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and it was entered by the judge on December 19, 2016.
NOTE: Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.