FTC Slams Idol Scam

A Utah-based telemarketing company has agreed to pay $40,000 to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint that it scammed callers to American Idol in its first two seasons.

Telemartketing Inc. bought copycat numbers similar to that of American Idol and decieved about 25,000 misdialers into paying between $2-$3 per call to vote for their favorite singer. What they got for their money was a recitation of the correct number they were trying to dial in the first place.
The company, which does business as Univoxx, Apex Investments, Operator Directory Service, Northwest Atlantic, and Universal Innovations, agreed not to engage in similar deceptive conduct.
While greed drove the scam, it also helped undo it. In the 2002 season, the company charged $1.99 per call. In season two, the price was upped to $2.97. The FTC's pay-per-call rule says that any provider charging more than $2.00 per call must disclose certain relevant information, which the company did not.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.