Hispanics targeted in Tono Records collection scheme

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) successful petitioned a federal court to stop an operation that allegedly victimized Spanish-speaking consumers nationwide. The scammers posed as debt collectors seeking payments consumers did not owe.

“Lying to consumers about debts they don’t owe and harassing and threatening them when they don't pay are illegal business practices, period,” said Lydia Parnes, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We will aggressively pursue companies that use these tactics to extort money from consumers.”

According to the FTC’s press release, the Los Angele-based company Tono Records sold an English-language instruction course, “Inglés con Ritmo,” stating that it was free due to government or non-profit subsidies. The instruction course, sold from 2003 to 2005, was advertised on Spanish-language television and the company’s Web sites, www.tonorecords.com and www.tonomusic.com.

Inquiring consumers were told that a shipping and handling fee of $100 to $169 applied. According to the FTC, Tono Records, posing as third-party debt collectors, told consumers they owed money, typically $900, and repeatedly called them, even though the evidence showed that the consumers owed no money.

You can file a complaint with the FTC in English or Spanish or get free information on any of 150 consumer topics. Toll-free, 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357). Click here to go to the FTC's online complaint form.




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