More than 4,800 consumers defrauded by National Card Monitor LLC, a telemarketing operation that promised to lower consumers’ credit card interest rates for an advance fee, are receiving refund checks from a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

The Arizona-based company, starting in early 2011, cold-called consumers nationwide and falsely claimed it could get one or more low-rate credit cards for consumers, onto which they could then transfer their current balances. On the call, National’s telemarketers requested an advance fee of between $499 and $599 from consumers, assuring them that they would receive a full refund if they did not get a new card.

The settlement permanently bans National Card Monitor from all telemarketing and from marketing or selling "credit related products or services." The settlement prohibits the defendants from making any misrepresentations in the marketing or sale of financial products, including debt relief services. The FTC contended that National Card Monitor was not registered with the National Do Not Call Registry, never paid to access the Registry and often called consumers whose numbers were on the Registry.

Along with the telemarketing ban, the settlement bans the defendants from misrepresenting any material fact about any product or service, and imposes a judgment of $2,329,409, which represents the amount of consumer harm they caused. The company previously agreed to provide the FTC with lists of consumer victims and to have their assets frozen by the court. Based on the money recovered, a refund check for $25.13 are being mailed to defrauded consumers.

The judgment will be suspended upon the payment of all frozen funds remaining after payment of final receivership expenses. The full judgment will be due if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial situation.

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