Last month, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida issued an opinion that serves as a powerful reminder of the risks of not taking telemarketing compliance seriously. In August 2014, the FTC sued the Partners in Health Care Association (“PIHC”), its principal Gary Kieper, and others for deceptively telemarketing medical discount cards. According to the FTC, the defendants misled consumers into thinking the discount card was actually health insurance. In last month’s decision, the court granted the FTC’s motion for summary judgment and entered judgment against Kieper in the amount of $8.7 million.
Relying on consumer complaints and FTC undercover calls, the Court found that PIHC and the telemarketers it hired had deceived consumers by telling them that the discount cards were, in fact, health insurance cards. The court found Kieper was well aware of the deceptions based on several state investigations into the telemarketing, numerous BBB complaints, and internal documents. The court rejected a variety of arguments raised by Kieper as to why the calls were not deceptive or that summary judgment should not be granted. Continue Reading