The US Federal Trade Commission has filed charges against a payment processing company, accusing it of attempting to debit consumers' bank accounts for up to $200 million on behalf of dishonest merchants.
Those consumers either never received the goods or received worthless items, said the FTC, which filed the complaint with seven other US states. The payment company allegedly violated both federal and state consumer fraud laws, telemarketing rules and FTC regulations regarding the unfair processing of payments.
The payment processing company went by several names, which are listed in a FTC news release. The FTC alleges the company processed payments for fraudulent telemarketers and Internet-based merchants that used deceptive sales scripts and methods.
About US$69 million of the US$200 million in transactions were either rejected by consumers or returned because of lack of proper payment authorization, the FTC said.
The FTC wants to refund consumers and force the company to forfeit money it still holds from the fraud in addition to other civil penalties. The complaint was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The states that have joined the suit are Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Vermont.