The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 358 refund checks totaling $939,207.78 to consumers who lost money after paying performance deposits to become business or sales consultants to National Business Consultants, Inc. (NBC) and its owner, Robert Namer. Consumers receiving checks initially will get more than 41 percent of the money they lost in this business opportunity scheme back, with the average check totaling $2,623.49. They may receive more money in the future, as Namer is required to provide additional funds for consumer redress, including $2,000 a month for the next 10 years.
According to the FTC’s 1989 complaint, NBC and Namer falsely told consumers that: 1) they provide consulting assignments, so consumers do not have to market their own services; 2) their consultants and sales consultants were likely to earn between $35,000 and $100,000 per year through their program; 3) NBC would refund deposits to consultants who earn a specific amount of money within a certain time frame; 4) 97 percent of their consultants qualified for such refunds; and 5) NBC would provide consumers with references who were successful consultants with the company. The FTC also charged NBC with violating the Commission’s Franchise Rule.
In 1991, the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled in the FTC’s favor, entering a $3 million judgment against the defendants. Assisted by staff in the Commission’s Western Region Office, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana worked diligently to collect additional funds from the defendants through numerous legal proceedings. In December 2014, the Department of Justice reached a settlement and repayment terms with Namer, under which he agreed to pay $1.84 million, enabling the FTC to begin paying the refunds it is announcing today.
Rust Consulting, Inc., the redress administrator for this matter, will mail refund checks to eligible consumers beginning today. The checks must be cashed within 60 days of the date they are issued or they will become void. Recipients should note that the FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information before redress checks can be cashed.
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