The Federal Trade Commission will mail an estimated $1 million in refunds to 138,737 consumers who allegedly were duped by telemarketers who falsely promised "free" goods and services related to long distance service.
The refunds stem from settlements with the operators of telemarketing schemes that did business as Sure Touch Long Distance and DigiTouch Long Distance (collectively Sure Touch).
Sure Touch billed consumers for goods and services they never agreed to buy after bombarding them with confusing sales pitches over the telephone, according to the complaint filed by the FTC.
Sure Touch contacted consumers with promises of free goods and services, including gift cards, gas cards and resort vacations. Sure Touch telemarketers often read their pitch so fast that consumers did not understand or realize they were being asked to pay for additional goods or services that were being offered.
Consumers who did understand the pitch were told that they would not be billed, since they did not provide their billing information.
However, unbeknownst to consumers, Sure Touch already had their billing information and charged their credit cards or debited their bank accounts for the additional goods or services, and without providing any services.
The FTC filed suit against Sure Touch as part of the 2008 law enforcement sweep “Operation TELE-PHONEY,” which included more than 180 telemarketing cases brought by civil and criminal attorneys throughout the U.S. and Canada.