February 25, 2009
St. Louis, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster today announced a telemarketing operation in Georgia that made repeated calls to Missourians on the No Call list has agreed to pay $300,000 in penalties to the state and stop making phone solicitations in Missouri. According to hundreds of complaints filed with the Attorney General's Office, the VersaDebt and Debtsafe companies were making telemarketing calls offering to lower consumers' credit card interest rates in exchange for a fee.
The Attorney General in June of 2008 obtained a temporary restraining order against VersaDebt and Debtsafe, alleging violations of Missouri's No Call law. The lawsuit claimed the companies never purchased the No Call database, which lists numbers registered in the No Call program and therefore off limits for most telemarketers. The order prohibited the companies from calling Missourians on the No Call list, and today's agreement goes a step further by ensuring the they will not make any telemarketing calls to Missourians, regardless of whether they are registered with No Call.
The agreement was submitted as an assurance of voluntary compliance, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court and signed by Judge Edward W. Sweeney.
"The No Call program is one of the most successful and popular programs in the history of Missouri state government, and I am committed to continuing the excellent work that began under former Attorney General Jay Nixon," Koster said. "Consumers who sign up for No Call expect their dinner hour to be protected from annoying telemarketing calls, and we will do our part to see that telemarketers take our laws and our privacy seriously."
The $300,000 penalty in the case is the third-largest penalty in the history of the No Call program. To date, No Call enforcement efforts have exceeded $4,000,000 in court-ordered judgments against telemarketers from all over the United States. To file complaints against a telemarketer, Missourians can call 1-866-NOCALL1 or visit Koster's Web site, ago.mo.gov.