Senior Supplemental Referral Service LLC sent allegedly deceptive mailings to Iowans seeking personal data for funeral insurance sellers
(DES MOINES, Iowa) An Idaho business and its owner have agreed to change how they go about generating insurance sales leads through contacts with Iowans, through an agreement with Attorney General Tom Miller.
The assurance of voluntary compliance with Boise-based Senior Supplemental Referral Service LLC, dba “Need-A-Lead,” and owner Brady Eddins, settles a dispute over whether mailings to Iowans were misleading, in violation of Iowa’s Consumer Fraud Act.
The Consumer Protection Division opened a case after a long-time investigator received a Need-A-Lead mailing at his home. The division investigated and determined that the company produced the mailings to generate sales leads and sent them to 26,000 Iowans in late 2016. The company forwarded consumer responses to insurance agents who followed up with sales pitches for funeral insurance.
The “Benefit Information” mailing, marked “time sensitive” and titled “Government Benefit Supplement Policy,” claimed to announce a “Senior Final Expense Program to help pay what Social Security does not” for funeral expenses. The mailing sought the recipient’s phone number and age, and spouse’s age, “to see if you qualify” for the “free service.”
“We allege the mailing deceptively appears to be an official contact from a governmental agency with its references to ‘time sensitive’ and ‘benefits,’” Attorney General Tom Miller said. “Small print discloses a lack of government affiliation, but that’s not good enough. Consumers have a right to know who’s contacting them and why, and lead generation attempts that obscure that information are unacceptable.”
The agreement prevents Need-A-Lead and Eddins from sending Iowans mailings that:
- Give the impression that they come from a government agency
- Create a false sense of urgency
- Make misleading references to “free services”
- Obscure the true purpose behind the mailing and the request for personal information
In addition, the agreement required Need-A-Lead and Eddins to pay $1,500 to support future consumer fraud enforcement efforts.
Miller emphasizes that Iowans should be wary of government-look-alike mailings from commercial sources, especially if they request personal information. “Iowans should look out for deceptive mailings that would add their names to a marketing list they may not want to be on.”