(Source: AG Tom Miller) - (DES MOINES, Iowa) A Polk County judge today barred a Phoenix company from soliciting Iowans after Attorney General Tom Miller alleged that the for-profit company tried to boost sales of high-priced products by falsely claiming that its telemarketers were disabled veterans.
District Court Judge Mary Pat Gunderson permanently restrained Action Point, LLC, and its owner, Robert Foster, from any telemarketing or direct mail to Iowa consumers. The court order, called a consent judgment, resolved a lawsuit that Miller’s office filed and announced in July.
In the lawsuit, Miller alleged that Action Point telemarketers made misleading claims in calls to Iowans, including that merchandise payments would be tax deductible, and that a large share of each payment would go to providing shelter credits and other vital assistance to disadvantaged veterans in need.
The Consumer Protection Division recorded the claims on an undercover phone line, which records solicitation calls that telemarketers are placing to elderly Iowans. In a December 27, 2011 recording, the solicitor claimed that “everyone that works at Action Point does have a physical disability.” The solicitor, who was attempting to sell $50 containers of cookies, added that “80 percent of the guys here are disabled veterans.”
According to the lawsuit, owner Robert Foster directly contradicted the recorded claims regarding disabilities and military injuries. Foster acknowledged that no one involved in Action Point’s operations is disabled, and that none of the proceeds go to help the disabled.
The lawsuit alleged that Action Point extracted the largest amounts from Iowans age 65 or over through frequent and repeated solicitation calls, and by getting some Iowans to spend as much as $2,000 in a single call.
Foster and the company did not admit liability.