|December 22, 2016
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
|en Español||Print Version||Tweet|
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Federal Trade Commission today announced a settlement with Inbound Call Experts, LLC also d/b/a Advanced Tech Support; Advanced Tech Supportco, LLC; PC Vitalware, LLC; Super PC Support, LLC and the owners of Inbound Call Experts, Robert D. Deignan, Paul M. Herdsman and Justin M. Wright. In November 2014, Attorney General Bondi’s Office and the FTC filed a complaint against the defendants for deceptively marketing tech support services and computer software. As part of the company’s settlement with the Attorney General’s Office and the FTC, the defendants have agreed to a $10 million judgment.
“Technology repair scams are designed to scare consumers into purchasing services they do not need, and this settlement agreement makes clear we will not allow technology repair scammers to get away with preying on Floridians,” said Attorney General Bondi.
The complaint alleged that defendants partnered with software companies pitching computer security products. Once consumers paid for the software, they received an order confirmation page that instructed them to call a toll-free number to activate the software. In some instances, the callers were routed to the defendants’ call center where sales agents allegedly followed scripted sales pitches designed to convince consumers that their computers were at risk and in need of immediate repair, regardless of whether or not any problems actually existed. The complaint states that the sales agents then gained remote access to consumers’ computers and misled consumers into believing their devices had significant damage that could cause a crash. Additionally, the sales agents allegedly scared consumers into spending hundreds of dollars on unnecessary computer repairs, including $150-$300 for technical support services, ongoing technical support for up to $19.99 a month and software security programs at an inflated price.
As part of the settlement, the defendants are permanently prohibited from:
- Misrepresenting any material fact, including falsely identifying problems on consumers’ computers and claiming that the problems will affect the performance or security of the computers;
- Using any false or misleading statement to induce a person to pay for goods or services;
- Failing, in any telephone call, to induce the purchase of goods or services, to disclose truthfully, promptly and in a clear and conspicuous manner the defendants’ identity, that the purpose of the call is to sell goods or services and the nature of the goods or services;
- Violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule; and
- Violating FDUTPA, Chapter 501, Part II, Florida Statutes, including the use of any false or misleading statement to induce any person to pay for goods or services in connection with the marketing, advertising, promotion, distribution or offering for sale of any goods or services.
A monitor will be appointed to evaluate the defendants’ compliance with the terms of the settlement for a two-year period.
This settlement is the eighth settlement obtained by Attorney General Bondi’s Office in partnership with the FTC involving tech support scams since February of this year.
Anyone who suspects unfair or deceptive business practices can file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office at MyFloridaLegal.com or call 1(866) 9-NO-SCAM.
To view the stipulated order for permanent injunction, click here.