Archived — Competition Bureau Plays Key Role in Ending Scam Targeting Economically Vulnerable Victims

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Ottawa, July 30, 2010 — On July 22, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a news release recognizing the Competition Bureau's role in the FTC's settlement against Mutual Consolidated Services (MCS), a company that promoted "Rapid Debt Reduction" programs to Canadian and American consumers.

MCS falsely claimed that they would save consumers thousands of dollars by reducing credit card interest rates, enabling them to pay off their debt faster than under their current payment schedule.

The settlement order requires that MCS to pay approximately US$1.5 million, which will be distributed to victims in Canada and the United States. The order also bans MCS from working in the debt relief industry, and prohibits them from misleading consumers or helping others to mislead consumers. In addition, MCS must comply with the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule, which, among other things, prohibits them from calling consumers on the Do Not Call Registry.

Throughout the investigation, the Bureau provided significant assistance to the FTC by conducting interviews with victims, obtaining documents corroborating the activities in question and coordinating with the FTC's investigators. The Bureau and the FTC are members of the Vancouver Strategic Alliance, a joint partnership to fight deceptive marketing practices targeting individuals and businesses.

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