New York: An Indian-American entrepreneur and his company have been slapped with a permanent ban after he sent millions of unwanted messages to consumers falsely promising free gift cards to them.
Rishab Verma and his company Verma Holdings agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that they were responsible for the unwanted messages to consumers across the US.
The deceptive messages promised that the consumers will get free USD 1,000 gift cards from major retailers like Walmart, Target and Best Buy, the FTC said in a statement.
Under the terms of the settlement with the FTC, Verma and his company would be permanently banned from sending unwanted or unsolicited commercial text messages or assisting others in doing so.
In addition, the two will be prohibited from misrepresenting to consumers that a product is "free", that they have won a prize or selected for a gift, or that consumers` personal information is needed to send free merchandise.
He would also be required to pay over USD 26,000 as fine.
Verma and his company were among the defendants in the FTC`s 2013 sweep against text message spammers and affiliate marketers who used false promises of gift cards to draw consumers to websites that collected sensitive personal information.
The sites also required consumers to provide credit card information to sign up for trial offers.
The settlement contains a monetary judgment of USD 2.8 million which is suspended due to the defendants` inability to pay.