UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Federal Trade Commission, having reason to believe that The National Research Center for College and University Admissions, Inc. and American Student List, LLC, corporations, and Don M. Munce, individually and as an officer of The National Research Center for College and University Admissions, Inc. ("Respondents"), have violated the provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act, and it appearing to the Commission that this proceeding is in the public interest, alleges:
1. Respondent The National Research Center for College and University Admissions, Inc. ("NRCCUA") is a Missouri corporation with its principal office or place of business at 900 SW Oldham Parkway, Lees Summit, Missouri 64081.
2. Respondent Don M. Munce is an officer and director of NRCCUA. Individually or in concert with others, he formulates, directs, controls, or participates in the policies, acts, or practices of NRCCUA, including the acts or practices alleged in this Complaint. His principal office or place of business is the same as that of NRCCUA.
3. Respondent American Student List, LLC ("ASL") is a New York limited liability company with its principal office or place of business at 330 Old Country Road, Mineola, New York 11501.
4. The acts and practices of Respondents alleged in this Complaint have been in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
5. Since at least 1988, Respondents have collected personal information from high school students through a survey (the "Survey"). Respondents market and distribute the Survey to high school teachers and guidance counselors with the request that they have their students complete the Survey. Students may also complete the Survey online at NRCCUA's Web site, www.nrccua.org. Last year, Respondents collected personal information from more than 2 million high school students who completed the Survey.
6. The Survey collects from high school students personal information, including, but not limited to, name, address, gender, grade point average, date of birth, academic and occupational interests, athletic and extracurricular interests, racial or ethnic background, and religious affiliation (the "Survey Data").
7. Respondents create, market, and distribute the Survey, and compile and use Survey Data. Respondents NRCCUA and ASL each pay a substantial portion of the cost to produce and distribute the Survey.
8. Survey Data is used by Respondents. Respondent NRCCUA markets Survey Data primarily to colleges and universities, which use the information to target high school students for recruitment purposes. Respondent ASL uses Survey Data to create lists of college-bound students that it sells to commercial entities for use in marketing. Such entities include, but are not limited to, consumer products manufacturers, credit card companies, direct marketers, list brokers, database marketing companies, and advertising agencies.
9. Respondents have disseminated or caused to be disseminated marketing materials and privacy statements, including but not limited to the attached Exhibits A through D. These marketing materials and privacy statements contain the following statements regarding the use and disclosure of personal information collected through the Survey:
10. Respondents have disseminated or caused to be disseminated marketing materials that accompany the Survey, including but not limited to the attached Exhibits E through G. These marketing materials contain the following statements regarding the funding of the Survey:
C. "These survey results are provided at no cost to participating high schools, NRCCUA is funded by its member colleges and universities for the purpose of distributing helpful educationally-related literature to students." (Exhibit G, report to educators).
11. Through the means described in Paragraphs 9 - 10, Respondents have represented, expressly or by implication, that:
12. In truth and in fact:
Therefore, the representations set forth in Paragraph 11 were, and are, false or misleading.
13. The acts and practices of Respondents as alleged in this Complaint constitute unfair or deceptive acts or practices, in or affecting commerce, in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
THEREFORE, the Federal Trade Commission this twenty-eighth day of January, 2003, has issued this Complaint against Respondents.
By the Commission.
Donald S. Clark