Rentbro, Inc and its principals have come to an agreement that settles the Federal Trade Commission charges that they sent out over 42.5 million text messages to consumers that were misleading and unwanted. The settlement prohibits the defendants from sending anymore unwanted texts to consumers. It also prevents them from misleading consumers about supposed prizes that they allegedly won.
FTC Midwest Region Director C. Steven Baker said, “FTC action in cases like this one have dramatically reduced the amount of illegal text message spam, especially as it relates to bogus gift card offers. Not only are spam texts annoying and illegal, but they can also cost consumers money.”
The FTC complaint states that Rentbro, Inc., and its principals, Daniel Pessin and Jacob Engel, who all reside in Ft. Lauderdale, sent out deceptive text messages to millions of consumers telling them they had been selected to receive $1,000 gift cards to major retailers such as Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. A typical message stated, “Your entry in our drawing WON you a FREE $1,000 Target Giftcard! Enter ‘312’ at www.target.com.tgrz.biz to claim it and we can ship it to you immediately!”
The text messages included a hyper-link that took consumers to a website the defendants created. The website reinforced the deceptive gift card message, and then directed visitors to a variety of third-party websites where consumers were asked to submit personal information to claim their gift cards. Once consumers entered their personal information, they were informed they had to sign up for over a dozen risky trial offers that were not free to qualify for the “free card.”
The order against Rentbro, Inc. and their principals also requires the defendants to turn over their assets. It also imposes a partially suspended monetary judgment of $377,321. This is the second settlement directly stemming from the FTC’s sweep that they initiated earlier this year.
The Federal Trade Commission was established to help prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices. The FTC also provides consumers information to aid them in spotting and stopping scams as well as avoiding them.
Edited by Blaise McNamee