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FTC Wins $28 Million Judgment In Postal Jobs Case - News Brief.
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NOTE: Here is where you can find advertising law information based on news briefs that appeared in past issues of Advertising Compliance Service, "Your Single Essential Advertising Law Resource," during the month of November 2000.



FTC has won a $28 million judgment against an operation that, according to FTC, fraudulently offered employment with the U.S. Postal Service. A federal district court magistrate judge permanently banned William Tankersley and his eight corporations from marketing career advisory goods and services, engaging in telemarketing, and misrepresenting any material fact as to any employment program or employment with the U.S. Postal Service. The court entered judgments against Tankersley and the other defendants for $28,149,600, the amount of consumer injury they allegedly caused.

In January 1998, as part of a joint FTC and Postal Service law enforcement sweep aimed at stopping private companies from falsely promising Postal Service jobs at generous wages, the FTC sued the companies and Tankersley. FTC's complaint charged that the defendants misrepresented:

  • their affiliation with or endorsement by the U.S. Postal Service;
  • that permanent positions with the Postal Service were available in the geographic areas where they placed classified ads, and that the Postal Service was offering the exams for those positions;
  • that consumers who purchased and reviewed the defendants' materials were likely to achieve high scores on the exam for postal jobs and likely to obtain permanent positions with the Postal Service within a short period of time; and
  • that they paid full refunds to all consumers who requested them.

FTC asked for, and the court granted, a temporary restraining order that, among other things, froze the defendants' assets.

In June 1999, the FTC filed for summary judgment against Tankersley and the corporations. (FTC previously reached settlements with the other defendants.) The District Court granted the motion finding that the "evidence demonstrates that the Defendants operated a coordinated advertising, telemarketing, and mailing operation to defraud job-seeking consumers nationwide." Magistrate Judge Theresa L. Springmann issued the Decision and Order in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, on October 18, 2000.

(Think Achievement, Inc., Civil Action No.: 2:98-CV-12-TS, FTC Matter No.: X98 0009, November 8, 2000.)

NOTE: A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of a law violation. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of $11,000.


On November 22, 2000, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) filed a Petition for Rulemaking asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to begin a proceeding to implement Sections 222(f) & (h) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, by adopting the proposed location information privacy principles unanimously approved by CTIA's Board of Directors. In its FCC filing, CTIA said that--

"CTIA and its membership recognize that privacy is of the utmost importance to mobile communications users. CTIA's proposed privacy principles would ensure that users of any mobile service will be informed of the service provider's location information collection and use practices before any information is disclosed or used. Customers then will be free to choose whether to participate or not in a location-based transaction or activity that will result in the collection or use of location information. With informed customer consent, the promise of location-sensitive wireless services will be realized."

So under Sections 1.49, 1.52 and 1.401 of FCC's rules, CTIA is asking FCC to promulgate rules--

"to ensure that mobile customers (1) are well informed of location information collection and use practices prior to collection; (2) have a meaningful opportunity to consent to the collection and use of this information for location-based services; and (3) are assured of the security and integrity of any collected location information. These rules should provide a safe harbor for any location information service provider that ascribes to these privacy principles. And finally, the rules should be technology neutral so that the mobile consumer's privacy expectations are satisfied no matter the type of mobile device or the roaming market in which it is used."

CTIA is the international organization of the wireless communications industry for both wireless carriers and manufacturers.

(CTIA Petition for Rulemaking to FCC, November 22, 2000; Letter to CTIA Board of Directors, Washington Regulatory Representatives, State Actions Caucus and Members Interested in Regulations and Rule Changes from CTIA's Regulatory Policy and Law Department, November 22, 2000.)




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