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CONTACT: Geoff Greenwood, Communications Director
515-281-6699, geoff.greenwood@iowa.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, September 9, 2010

Magazine Seller Agrees to Refunds, Relinquish Iowa Marketing, and Refrain from Future Violations


(DES MOINES, Iowa)  Attorney General Tom Miller announced that an Urbandale magazine subscription telemarketing company has agreed to refrain from telemarketing to or from Iowa, and refund money to customers who complain.

Miller raised concerns with Heartland, Inc. following numerous consumer complaints over the company’s magazine marketing practices.  Consumers, including those who were registered with the National Do Not Call Registry, alleged that Heartland employees deceived them in their sales representations and engaged in abusive collection practices.  Those practices included Heartland calling consumers and posing as their current magazine vendor, to mislead them into supplying personal and financial information and assuming new payment obligations.  Consumers also alleged that Heartland used aggressive and deceptive verbal practices to extract credit card, debit card and checking account information, often from senior citizens.

In an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with the Attorney General, Heartland, Inc., two of its principals, Theresa “Teri” Kruse and Chris Myers, and a successor company called PCCS, L.L.C., have agreed to refrain from engaging in any telemarketing directed to Iowa residents or conducted from an Iowa location.

Heartland has also agreed that, for the next two years, it will make full refunds to consumers who complain about the manner in which the company solicited or billed them.  In addition, Heartland has agreed to cease any further collections against consumers who submit complaints about the way in which they were solicited.

If Heartland denies a customer who has requested a refund anything less than a full refund, Heartland agrees to explain and justify to the Iowa Attorney General in writing why the company denied the consumer a full refund.

Heartland also agrees that violating the terms of this Assurance of Voluntary Compliance would violate Iowa’s Consumer Fraud Act and could result in a $40,000 civil penalty for each violation.

Consumers who wish to file a complaint against Heartland, Inc. should contact the Consumer Protection Division through Attorney General’s website at www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.com, e-mail us at consumer@iowa.gov or call 1-888-777-4590.  In the Des Moines area, call 515-281-5926.

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