Court shuts down telemarketer accused of fraud

A U.S. district court has shut down a telemarketing company that allegedly targeted Hispanic customers in a fraudulent scheme to resell luxury products.

After a request from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the court temporarily blocked a company known as Oro Marketing, among other names, for charging high upfront fees and intimidating consumers who refused to pay.

According to the agency’s charges, Oro promised people that they could make a hefty profit by reselling gear from high-end labels like Gucci, Armani and Coach, but then gave them worthless products to pass along. The company charged consumers between $400 and $490 in upfront fees and threatened those who didn’t pay with lawsuits and arrests, the FTC said.

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“Oro Marketing used deception and threats to take advantage of people who were trying to make ends meet,” said Jessica Rich, head of the FTC’s consumer protection division, in a statement. “We intend to permanently stop this conduct.”

The commission alleged that the company called Spanish-speaking consumers, offered them wholesale prices on luxury clothing, bags and perfumes, but then sent them unbranded or low quality products; people caught in the scheme had to pay for the products, at hundreds of dollars per delivery.

If they complained, the company told consumers that it would resend the packages, but that they needed to pay again, according to the FTC.

If the consumer refused to pay, Oro allegedly threatened fines, lawsuits or to damage the person's credit history.