Consumer Law

Marketers Sued for Mailings to Bump Seniors from No-Call List

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Several states are suing insurance marketers over their attempts to bypass a ban on phone solicitation by mailings to seniors.

The marketers are sending mail to seniors asking them to return a so called “lead card” requesting more information about estate planning or other topics, the Wall Street Journal reports (sub. req.). Once an insurer receives the card it may call the sender despite a listing on the Do Not Call Registry. That’s because the law creating the registry allows marketing calls if a consumer provides an “express agreement in writing.”

The lawsuits target allegedly deceptive statements on the mailings, such as an implied affiliation with a group such as AARP.

The WSJ profiled retired couple Naomi and Horace Williams, who returned their lead card, sent by a marketer that provides leads to insurance agents nationwide. They later got calls from a living trust marketer and an insurance agent, who persuaded them to put most of their $179,000 in retirement money into an annuity. The bulk of the cash could not be tapped without penalty until Horace Williams was nearly 90.

The Texas attorney general is suing the marketer, America’s Recommended Mailers Inc., claiming its mailings were misleading. Illinois and Pennsylvania have also filed lawsuits against marketers for similar mailings.

The Williamses got their money back after hiring a lawyer. The company is revising its mailings, but claims no wrongdoing.

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