Iowa’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against an Arizona company that sold high-priced household goods over the phone to Iowans who thought they were helping veterans.
Attorney General Tom Miller says the company’s owner has admitted under oath that none of the money went to charity.
“Not helping veterans, not helping homeless people,” MIller says. “It’s a for-profit company and they keep the money.”
In addition to the lawsuit seeking refunds for Iowans and fines against the company, a judge has issued an injunction which forbids the company from calling into Iowa to sell its products. The company sold things like a tin of cookies for $50 as well as light bulbs, trash bags and household cleaners. Miller’s office recorded one of the pitches.
On the recording, a woman who is the target of the sale asked: “Is everyone who works at Action Point disabled or a veteran?”
The man making the pitch, who identified himself as a disabled Navy veteran, responded: “Thank you for asking. Everyone that works at Action Point, ma’am, does have a physical disability; 80 percent of the guys here are disabled veterans.”
The attorney general says Action Point’s owner has said that employee does not have any disability that he’s aware of and that none of his employees are disabled, yet the telemarketer was captured telling a different story on the recording. The man claimed to have been hit by what he called “an ICU” during his second tour of duty. When the woman he was trying to sell goods to asked what an ICU was, he replied: “It’s sort of like a suicide bomber thing.”
Iowa’s attorney general says folks in his office “scratched our heads” over that bogus reference. Miller advises Iowans not to make a contribution over the telephone to a charity you’ve never heard of before.
“We’re going to shut this one down,” Miller says, “but there are others out there that are very similar to it that Iowans should be very careful about.”
Miller isn’t yet sure how many Iowans may have purchased items from Action Point, but he knows of at least one elderly Iowan who bought $2000 worth of “exorbitantly expensive” household goods, thinking she was helping disabled veterans.
AUDIO of Miller’s news conference announcing the lawsuit and injunction.