If you got an automated telemarketing "robocall" from "Heather from card services" and if you sent Heather some money to reduce your credit card payments, which of course Heather did not do, then you might be one of the 4,468 U.S. consumers getting a refund check from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
During 2008 and 2009, "Heather from card services," representing three companies, robocalled consumers pitching credit card payment rate reductions services in exchange for up-front fees ranging from $990 to $1,495. In a July 2010 judgment, a federal district court declared the robocalls to be illegal and the credit service to be worthless, and ordered the up-front fees returned to the victimized consumers.
According to the FTC, the telemarketing calls from "Heather" claimed the offending companies could lower the interest rates, and thus the monthly payments, on the consumers' credit cards. The defendants sweetened the deal by falsely claiming that consumers who did not save the "guaranteed" amount of $4,000 or more could get a full refund of their up-front fee. In reality, the companies did little or nothing to negotiate lower interest rates for consumers and refused to return any up-front fees.
Each of the 4,468 consumers defrauded by the defendants will get a check for between $31 and $1,300, depending on how much they actually lost in the scam.
If you know or suspect you have been the victim of commercial fraud or abuse of the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, it is important that you file a complaint with the FTC. The FTC collects complaints about companies, business practices, identity theft, and episodes of violence in the media. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).