FTC Bars Travel Service Sellers from Violating Do Not Call Rule

Defendants Called Hundreds of Thousands of Numbers Listed on the National Registry

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Two companies and their owner, who sold travel services, are barred from violating the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call (DNC) Rule after being charged with calling numbers on the National DNC Registry. In the complaint and stipulated final order announced today, the FTC alleged the Arizona-based defendants called hundreds of thousands of telephone numbers on the Registry. To settle the charges, the defendants not only are prohibited from calling consumers whose numbers are on the Registry, but also will pay $5,000 in civil penalties. There are currently more than 105 million numbers on the National DNC Registry.

The defendants in the complaint and settlement announced today, Cutting Edge Travel, LLC; Cutting Edge Marketing, LLC; and Jeffrey Cope, sold vacation packages and other travel-related services to consumers through outbound telemarketing calls. Both companies are owned by Cope and located in Tempe, Arizona. Cutting Edge Travel is the telemarketing arm of Cutting Edge Marketing.

In its complaint, the FTC alleged the defendants violated the provisions of the Telemarketing Sales Rule that relate to the National DNC Registry. Following the provisions’ implementation on October 17, 2003, the defendants allegedly called hundreds of thousands of numbers listed on the Registry.

As part of the settlement, the defendants are barred from placing a telemarketing call to a number listed on the Registry, unless that consumer provides them with express written authorization, or they have an established business relationship with that consumer and the consumer has not made an entity-specific DNC request. Both of these exceptions are standard to the DNC Rule. The settlement also contains a suspended judgment of $345,000. Based on the defendants’ ability to pay, the adjusted amount is $5,000. If it is found that they misrepresented their financial status, they will be responsible for the full amount.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to refer the complaint and proposed stipulated judgment to the Department of Justice for filing was 4-0. The complaint and proposed judgment were filed at the FTC’s request by the Department of Justice in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on September 22, 2005. The proposed judgement is subject to court approval.

NOTE: The Commission authorizes the filing of a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant actually has violated the law.

NOTE: This judgment is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. Judgments have the force of law when signed by the judge.

Copies of the complaint and stipulated final order are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Media Contact:

Contact Information

Mitchell J. Katz or Jackie Dizdul
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2161 or 202-326-2472

Staff Contact:
Linda K. Badger or Matthew D. Gold
FTCs Western Region, San Francisco