Kelly Kearsley wrote this story this afternoon:
By Kelly Kearsley
The News Tribune
A Federal Court in Tacoma temporarily shut down a telemarketing firm Monday following a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission alleging that the company lied to consumers about helping to reduce their credit card debt and violated telemarketing sales rules.
MCS Programs – headquartered on Earnest S. Brazill Street in Tacoma – telemarketed "rapid debt reduction," promising to negotiate lower credit card rates for consumers that would allow them to pay off their debt faster, according to the FTC.
The company – which operated nationwide and in Canada – charged between $690 and $899 for their services.
But the FTC alleges that in most cases consumers credit card rates remained the same.
"We have a lot of consumers complaining that the company did absolutely nothing for them – that they weren’t able to reduce their rates at all," said Bob Schroeder, assistant regional director of the FTC’s Seattle office.
He wouldn’t say how many complaints the agency received, only that "there were a lot of unhappy customers" in the United States and Canada.
The FTC says that MCS Programs also broke telemarketing sales rules including calling people on the National Do Not Call Registry. The company did business under a few different names including Mutual Consolidated Savings, United Savings Center and USC Programs.
The court froze the company’s assets Monday and appointed a receiver to temporarily take control of the business. The receiver will review the company’s documents and operations and determine whether the business can be run in a way that’s legal, Shroeder said.
The FTC lawsuit names Paul Morris Thompson as the company’s owner, president and chief executive officer and Miranda Cavendar as its chief operating officer. The News Tribune was unable to reach Thompson or Cavendar Monday evening.