Internet Merchant Barred for Life from "Net-based" Commerce

FTC Alleged Online Auction Houses Were Used To Sell Goods that Were Never Delivered

For Release

An Internet "entrepreneur" who advertised low priced computers in online auction houses and collected the sales price but never delivered the goods would be barred for life from conducting any Internet commerce, under the terms of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The defendant, who did business as Experienced Designed Computers and C&H Computer Services, would be prohibited from advertising, marketing or selling goods or services via the Internet, from making misrepresentations about any goods or services he sells and from violating the Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule.

The defendant, Craig Lee Hare, also known as Danny Hare, operates from Lake Worth, Florida.

In April, 1998, the FTC alleged that Hare had used online auction houses to offer new and used computers for sale. After "successful bidders" paid as much as $1,450 per computer, Hare provided them with neither the computer nor a refund. At the request of the FTC, a federal district judge issued a temporary restraining order and froze Hare's assets, pending trial. The agency asked the court to issue an injunction permanently barring Hare from violating the FTC Act and the Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule. The stipulated permanent injunction and final judgment announced today would settle those charges.

The settlement would permanently bar Hare from participating in any online commerce. It also would bar him from misrepresenting his identity in commercial e-mail and misrepresenting any fact that is material to a consumer's decision to purchase any goods or services in any form of commerce. In addition, the order would prohibit future violations of the Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule. Finally, the order provides record keeping provisions to allow the FTC to monitor compliance.

Stephanie J. Herter, also known as Stephanie Branham, also entered in a settlement with the Commission. She was named in the FTC complaint against Hare as a relief defendant because checks Hare received from consumers were deposited in her checking account. In settlement of the charges against her, Herter will release Hare's funds in that account to be used for consumer redress, or, if that is impractical, to be deposited into the U.S. Treasury.

The stipulated permanent injunctions were filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division.

NOTE: These consent judgments are for settlement purposes only and do not constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. Consent judgments have the force of law when signed by the judge.

Copies of the complaint, Stipulated Final Judgment and Orders and a consumer alert, "Online Auctions: Going, Going Gone!" are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.

 

(FTC File No X980036)
(Civil Action No. 98-8194-CIV-HURLEY)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Claudia Bourne Farrell
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2181
Staff Contact:
Elizabeth Hone
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3207