• Report: #322208

Complaint Review: Handi Hope

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  • Submitted: Sat, March 29, 2008
  • Updated: Wed, February 11, 2009

  • Reported By:Cranston Rhode Island
Handi Hope
PO Box 6745 Phoenix, Arizona U.S.A.

Handi Hope Conned a family member Phoenix Arizona

*Consumer Suggestion: Same people different name... "Fresh Start"

*Consumer Suggestion: Case filed May 13 by Arizonia Federal Trade Commission

*Consumer Suggestion: Maybe she just cares about her aunt and does not want her falling prey to unscrupulous people

*UPDATE Employee: this lady just wants more inheritance money for herself...shame on her

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This organization ripped off my aunt for thousands of dollars. For years they called her often and solicited donations for purchases of products. Her purchases included light bulbs and several types of plastic bags.

She is elderly and felt as though she was helping the disadvantaged people working for the company. I told her that it was just a scam and she had to stop. They continued to mail packages of product to her even after she stopped placing orders.

She finally started to refuse the packages and returned them, but it took them a while to stop sending products to her.

I was at her house today when I answered a call from them - I can't believe they are still calling! I asked them to stop calling. Her number is on the "do not call" registry, and I believe there is an exception if the company already has the phone number, but must remove it if you ask them to stop. I know she has asked them in the past to stop calling. I advised her to change her phone number but she won't. I am concerned that she'll fall prey in the future to this company or someone else who calls with a sob story.

I wish someone could prosecute them. It's unbelievable that these scumbags continue to operate this way.

Jennp500
Cranston, Rhode Island
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/29/2008 01:40 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Handi-Hope/Phoenix-Arizona/Handi-Hope-Conned-a-family-member-Phoenix-Arizona-322208. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Suggestion

Same people different name... "Fresh Start"

AUTHOR: Cwilson71 - (U.S.A.)

This guy is now running "Fresh Start" but is the same guy behind handi tech and handi hope. It looks like he lost in court in late December but that did not stop him from coming back on the scene. I have been doing some searching and we could all be getting fooled. This "George Thomas" may not even exits.

After doing some research, it looks like people that engage in telemarketing fraud are all using this alias. With numerous P.O. Boxes, fake addresses, LCC names it is all but impossible to track and prosecute these scum.

With that said the best thing to do if you have an elderly loved one that is being targeted is to suggest that they let you take control of their finances, especially if they are on a fixed income. I know the elderly can also be attached to their phone numbers, my grandmother has had hers for over 45 years but changing it could mean the difference of thousands of dollars and a whole lot of headaches.
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Case filed May 13 by Arizonia Federal Trade Commission

AUTHOR: Pardel - (U.S.A.)

Maybe there will be justice for these victims after all. An injunction was filed by the Arizonia Federal Trade Commission on May 13,2008 against this company. Maybe they won't be able to victimize anymore of our elderly citizens.
Here is part of the injuction filed against this company. The document can be read on the Federal Trade Commission website.

KATHLEEN BENWAY, DC BarNo. 474356
RICHARD McKEWEN, DC Bar No. 482969
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, H-286
Washington, DC 20580
Phone: (202) 326-2024/ (202) 326-3071
Fax: (202) 326-3395
Email: kbenway@ftc.gov / rmckewen@ftc.gov
ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
~ FILED LODGED _ RECEIVED....t. COpy
MAY 13 2008
CLERK U S DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
BY Z ...Q.~JlIY
Federal Trade Commission, Plaintiff,
-V.Handicapped
& Disabled Workshops, Inc., a corporation, also formerly known as Handi-Tech Company;
Handi-Hope Industries, Inc., a corporation;
Handi-Ship, LLC, a limited liability company;
Bruce D. Peeples, an individual;
George Thomas, an individual;
and
Joshua D. Abramson, an individual, Defendants.
Ie/IV '08 0908 PHX DGC
Case No. _
COMPLAINT FOR PERMANENT
INJUNCTION AND OTHER
EQUITABLE RELIEF
[FILED UNDER SEAL]
Plaintiff, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC" or "Commission"), for its Complaint alleges:
I'
1. The FTC brings this action under Sections 13(b) and 19 of the Federal Trade Commission Act ("FTC Act"), 15 U.S.C. 53(b) and 57b, and the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act ("Telemarketing Act"), 15 U.S.C. 6101 -6108, to obtain temporary, preliminary, and permanent injunctive relief, rescission or reformation ofcontracts, restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten monies, and other equitable relief for defendants' acts or practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 45(a), in violation of the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule ("TSR"), 16 C.F.R. Part 310, and in violation of the Unordered Merchandise Statute, 39 U.S.C. 3009.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
2.
This Court has subject matterjurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.c. 1331, 1337(a), and 1345, and 15 U.S.c. 45(a), 53(b), 57b, 6102(c), and 6105(b).
3.
Venue is proper in this District under 28 U.S.C. 1391(b) and (c), and 15 V.S.c. 53(b).
PLAINTIFF
4. Plaintiff FTC is an independent agency ofthe United States Government created by statute. 15 U.S.C. 41 -58. The FTC is charged, inter alia, with enforcement of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.c. 45(a), which prohibits unfair and deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce. The FTC also is charged with enforcement of the Telemarketing Act, 15 U.S.c. 6101 -6108. Pursuant to the Telemarketing Act, the FTC promulgated and enforces the TSR, 16 C.F.R. Part 310, which prohibits deceptive and abusive telemarketing acts or
practices. The FTC is also charged with enforcement of the Unordered
Merchandise Statute, 39 U.S.c. 3009. The FTC is authorized to initiate federal
district court proceedings, by its own attorneys, to enjoin violations of the FTC
Act, the TSR, and the Unordered Merchandise Statute, and to secure such
equitable relief as may be appropriate in each case, including restitution and
disgorgement. 15 U.S.C. 53(b), 57b, 6102(c), and 6105(b).
DEFENDANTS
5.
Defendant Handicapped & Disabled Workshops, Inc. ("Handicapped & Disabled Workshops"), also formerly known as Handi-Tech Company ("Handi-Tech"), is a for-profit corporation with its principal place of business at 3001 West Indian School Road, Phoenix, Arizona. Handicapped & Disabled Workshops transacts or has transacted business in this District.
6.
Defendant Handi-Hope Industries, Inc. ("Handi-Hope") is a for-profit corporation with its principal place of business at 3001 West Indian School Road, Phoenix, Arizona and a location at 12450 North 35th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona. Handi-Hope transacts or has transacted business in this District.
7.
Defendant HandiShip, LLC ("HandiShip") is a for-profit limited liability company with its principal place of business at 3001 West Indian School Road, Phoenix, Arizona. HandiShip transacts or has transacted business in this District.
8.
Defendant Bruce D. Peeples is the president, an officer, and/or member of Defendants Handicapped & Disabled Workshops, Handi-Hope, and HandiShip. In connection with the matters alleged herein, he resides or has transacted
business in this District. At all times material to this Complaint, acting alone or
in concert with others, he has formulated, directed, controlled, or participated in
the acts and practices of Defendants Handicapped & Disabled Workshops,
Handi-Hope, and HandiShip, including the acts and practices set forth in this
Complaint.
9.
Defendant George Thomas is a manager of Defendants Handicapped & Disabled Workshops, Handi-Hope, and HandiShip. In connection with the matters alleged herein, he resides or has transacted business in this District. At all times material to this complaint, acting alone or in concert with others, he has formulated, directed, controlled, or participated in the acts and practices of Defendants Handicapped & Disabled Workshops, Handi-Hope, and HandiShip, including the acts and practices set forth in this Complaint.
10.
Defendant Joshua D. Abramson is the vice-president, secretary, and treasurer of Handi-Hope Industries, Inc. In connection with the matters alleged herein, he resides or has transacted business in this District. At all times material to this complaint, acting alone or in concert with others, he has formulated, directed, controlled, or participated in the acts and practices of Defendants Handicapped & Disabled Workshops, Handi-Hope, and HandiShip, including the acts and practices set forth in this Complaint.
COMMON ENTERPRISE AND INDIVIDUAL PARTICIPATION
11. Handicapped & Disabled Workshops, Handi-Hope, and HandiShip ("Corporate Defendants") have operated together as a common enterprise while engaging in
the acts and practices alleged below. Defendants have conducted the business
practices described below through an interrelated network of companies that
have common ownership, officers, managers, and business functions. Individual
defendants Peeples, Thomas, and Abramson have formulated, directed, and/or
controlled, or had authority to control, or participated in the acts and practices of
the Corporate Defendants that comprise the common enterprise.
DEFENDANTS' BUSINESS ACTIVITIES
12. Defendants Handicapped & Disabled Workshops, Handi-Hope, HandiShip, Peeples, Thomas, and Abramson (collectively "HD Workshops" or "Defendants") are sellers of goods and products to consumers. Defendants also. are telemarketers that initiate outbound telephone calls to consumers in the United States to induce the purchase ofHD Workshops's products or services.
13. Defendants have engaged in telemarketing by a plan, program, or campaign conducted to induce the purchase ofproducts or services by use ofone or more telephones and which involves more than one interstate telephone call.
14. At all times relevant to this complaint, Defendants have maintained a substantial course oftrade or business in the offering for sale and sale ofproducts or services via the telephone, in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in Section 4 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 44.
15. Since at least 1998 and continuing thereafter, Defendants have engaged in a plan, program or campaign to sell consumer products and supplies, including but not limited to light bulbs, trash bags, food storage bags, and cleaning products. Theproducts sold by Defendant are exorbitantly over-priced. For example,
Defendants have charged consumers $309 for eight incandescent light bulbs,
$437.95 for seven boxes of small sandwich bags, $704.95 for ten boxes of trash
bags, and $599.95 for eight rolls of plastic wrap.
16.
Defendants aggressively solicit purchasers, many of whom are elderly, for their products via interstate telephone sales calls by paid telemarketers. Defendants make numerous false and misleading representations and statements to induce consumers to order, consent to the mailing of, and/or pay for consumer products and supplies from HD Workshops.
17.
Defendants repeatedly call consumers seeking "support" or "donations" in the name of Handicapped & Disabled Workshops, Inc., Handi-Tech Company, or Handi-Hope Industries. As a result, many consumers agree to purchase Defendants' high-priced products, believing that doing so will help handicapped or disabled workers employed by Defendants.
18.
The corporate defendants are registered for-profit entities, and do not qualify as charitable organizations.
19.
Defendants are unrelenting in their efforts to persuade consumers to agree to make purchases. When consumers decline to place an order, Defendants continue to repeatedly call consumers, often multiple times in a single day, in an attempt to get consumers to change their minds and make a purchase. If consumers do agree to order or purchase products from Defendants, Defendants will repeatedly call those consumers, often multiple times a day, in an attempt to get them to purchase additional products.
21.
Defendants also refuse to take "no" for an answer. In numerous instances, Defendants mail unordered products without the prior express request or consent of consumers to receive such unordered products from Defendants. These packages are accompanied by invoices that state or imply that consumers authorized the mailing, purchase of, and/or billing for the products enclosed.
22.
In numerous instances, in order to induce consumers to pay invoices for unordered, unauthorized, or unwanted consumer products, Defendants misrepresent to consumers that they are obligated to pay for such unordered, unauthorized, or unwanted consumer products. Defendants mail bills and invoices to these consumers and make repeated harassing telephone calls, in which Defendants represent that consumers placed orders and are required to pay for the products. Defendants often threaten to turn the consumers over to collection agencies and damage their credit ratings. As a result of these aggressive tactics, Defendants induce many consumers to pay for unordered or unwanted consumer products.
23.
In truth and in fact, in numerous instances, Defendants fail to obtain consumers' express request or consent to receive such unordered products before mailing. billing, and dunning consumers for Defendants' high-priced consumer products. Therefore. consumers have the right to treat the unordered, unauthorized, or
- 7
unwanted consumer products as gifts, and have the right to retain, use, discard, or
dispose of the unordered, unauthorized, or unwanted consumer products in any
manner they see fit without any obligations whatsoever to Defendants, i.e.,
without any obligation to return or pay for the consumer products.
24.
Defendants represent to consumers via invoices and telephone calls that consumers have 21 days from receipt of the products to cancel the order or receive a refund of money paid. In numerous instances, however, Defendants fail to honor their stated 21-day return policy, even when consumers present proof, through shipping receipts and records, that the consumers have returned the items, at their own expense, within 21 days of receipt.
25.
Consumers who fail or refuse to pay Defendants' invoices for unordered or returned products are aggressively pursued for payment by Defendants through harassing telephone calls, often multiple calls in a single day, in which Defendants use threatening and abusive language. Defendants directly or implicitly threaten to refer consumers' unpaid accounts to a collection agency, ruin consumers' credit ratings, and/or initiate legal action against consumers. In collections letters mailed by Defendants, Defendants explicitly represent to consumers that their failure to pay may damage their credit rating or that Defendants may forward their account to Defendants' attorney and/or initiate legal against them for non-payment.
- 8
COUNT I
Misrepresentation to Induce Payment for Defendants' Consumer Products
31. In numerous instances, in connection with the marketing of various consumer products, or in the course ofbilling, attempting to collect, or collecting money from consumers for such products, Defendants represent, expressly or by implication, that consumers have ordered, purchased, or agreed to purchase products from Defendants, and therefore owe money to Defendants.
32. In truth and in fact, in numerous instances, the consumers have not ordered, purchased, or agreed to purchase products from Defendants, and therefore do not owe money to Defendants.
33. Therefore, the representation set forth in Paragraph 31 is false and misleading and constitutes a deceptive act or practice in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.c. 45(a). VIOLATIONS OF THE UNAUTHORIZED MERCHANDISE STATUE
34. The Unordered Merchandise Statute, 39 U.S.C. 3009, generally prohibits mailing unordered merchandise, unless such merchandise is clearly and conspicuously marked as a free sample, or is mailed by a charitable organization soliciting contributions. The statute also prohibits mailing consumers bills for unordered merchandise or dunning communications.
35. Pursuant to Section (a) of the Unordered Merchandise Statute, 39 U.S.c. 3009,
a violation of the Unordered Merchandise Statute constitutes an unfair method of
- 10 1
competition and an unfair trade practice, in violation of Section 5(a)(1) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.c. 45(a)(I). COUNT II
Mailing and Billing for
Unordered Merchandise
36.
In numerous instances, in connection with the marketing of various consumer products, Defendants, who are not charitable organizations soliciting contributions, have mailed packages containing various consumer products to consumers without
the prior expressed request or consent of the recipients and without identifying the products as free samples, thereby violating subsection (a) of the Unordered Merchandise Statute, 39 U.S.c. 3009(a).
37.
In numerous instances, in connection with the marketing of various consumer products, Defendants have mailed to the recipients of such consumer products one or more bills or dunning communications for such products, thereby violating subsections (a) and (c) of the Unordered Merchandise Statute, 39
U.S.C. 3009(a) and (c).
38.
Defendants' practices, as alleged in Paragraphs 36 and 37, are therefore also unfair trade practices that violate Section 5(a)(1) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.c. 45(a)(l).
VIOLATIONS OF THE TELEMARKETING SALES RULE AND THE NATIONAL DO NOT CALL REGISTRY
39. Congress directed the FTC to prescribe rules prohibiting abusive and deceptive telemarketing acts or practices pursuant to the Telemarketing Act, 15 V.S.c. 6101 -6108, in 1994. On August 16, 1995, the FTC adopted the
- 11
Telemarketing Sales Rule (the "Original TSR"), 16 C.P.R. Part 310, which
became effective on December 31, 1995. On January 29,2003, the PTC
amended the Original TSR by issuing a Statement of Basis and Purpose and the
final amended Telemarketing Sales Rule (the "TSR"). 68 Fed, Reg. 4580,4669.
40.
Defendants are "sellers" or "telemarketers" engaged in "telemarketing," as defined by the TSR, 16 C.P.R. 31O.2(z), (bb), and (cc).
41.
The TSR prohibits sellers and telemarketers from misrepresenting, directly or by implication, in the sale ofgoods or services any material aspect of the nature or terms of the seller's refund, cancellation, exchange, or repurchase policies. 16
C.P.R. 310.3(a)(2)(iv).
42.
It is an abusive telemarketing act or practice and a violation of the TSR for any
seller or telemarketer to engage in the following conduct:
a.
Causing any telephone to ring, or engaging any person in telephone conversation, repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number. 16 C.P.R. 31O.4(b)(1)(i); and/or
b.
Causing billing information to be submitted for payment, directly or indirectly, without the express informed consent of the customer or donor. 16 C.F.R. 310.4(a)(6).
43.
The TSR prohibits any seller or telemarketer from causing billing information to be submitted for payment, or collecting or attempting to collect payment for goods or services or a charitable contribution, directly or indirectly, without the customer's or donor's express verifiable authorization, except when the method
- I?
of payment used is a credit card subject to the protections of the Truth In Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq., and Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R. 226, or a debit card subject to the protections of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, 15
U.S.c.
1693 et seq., and Regulation E, 12 C.F.R. 205. When an audio recording of the customer's express oral authorization is used to satisfy this requirement, the TSR requires that the recording must evidence clearly the customer's authorization ofpayment for the goods or services that are the subject of the telemarketing transaction and the customer's receipt of all of the following information, among other information:
a.
the number of debits, charges, or payments (if more than one);
b.
the date(s) the debit(s), charge(s), or payment(s) will be submitted for payment;
c.
the amount(s) of the debit(s), charge(s), or payment(s); and
d.
a telephone number for customer inquiry that is answered during normal business hours. 16 C.F.R. 31O.3(a)(3)(ii).
44.
The TSR also established a "do-not-call" registry (the "National Do Not Call Registry" or "Registry"), maintained by the FTC, of consumers who do not wish to receive certain types of telemarketing calls. Consumers can register their telephone numbers on the Registry without charge either through a toll-free telephone call or over the Internet at www.donotcall.gov.
45.
Consumers who receive telemarketing calls to their registered numbers can complain of Registry violations the same way they registered, through a toll-free
- 13
telephone call or over the Internet at www.donotcall.gov, or by otherwise
contacting law enforcement authorities.
46.
On or after September 2,2003, the FTC allowed sellers, telemarketers, and other permitted organizations to access the Registry over the Internet at www.telemarketing.donotcall.gov, pay the required fees, and download the registered numbers by area code.
47.
Since October 17,2003, sellers and telemarketers subject to the FTC's jurisdiction have been prohibited from calling numbers on the Registry in violation of the TSR. 16 C.F.R. 31O.4(b)(I)(iii)(B).
48.
Since October 17,2003, sellers and telemarketers have been generally prohibited from calling any telephone number within a given area code unless the seller first has paid the annual fee for access to the telephone numbers within that area code that are included in the National Do Not Call Registry. 16 C.F.R. 310.8(a) and (b).
49.
Since December 31, 1995, sellers and telemarketers have been prohibited from initiating an outbound telephone call to any person when that person has previously stated that he does not wish to receive an outbound call made
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

Maybe she just cares about her aunt and does not want her falling prey to unscrupulous people

AUTHOR: Pardel - (U.S.A.)

That a company and/or its employees would take advantage of the elderly is deplorable. This happens to millions of elderly people each day, minute, second. For the most part these elderly people are on a fixed income from either retirement income or social security. People like bolts55 should be prosecuted!
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#4 UPDATE Employee

this lady just wants more inheritance money for herself...shame on her

AUTHOR: Bolts55 - (U.S.A.)

this lady is your typical yuppie niece that does not want auntie to help a good cause because she waiting for her to pass on.....and get all that money she has for herself !

helping disadvantage people is a good thing...good thing selfish and stingy girls like that cant stop me when i call their aunt ....i am just to darn good to be stopped !
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