An operation that promised to help consumers register for and obtain postal employment, but allegedly did neither, has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they violated federal law. The FTC will collect approximately $540,000 from the defendants to be used for consumer redress.
The FTC alleged that the defendants, Success Express, Inc., d/b/a Success Express; Exam Resource Center, Inc., d/b/a Exam Resource; Occupational Advancement Center, Inc., d/b/a Occupational Advancement and OAC; Employment Resource, LLC, d/b/a Employment Resources; David James Daniell a/k/a David James; Wanda J. Taugner; and Kathy L. Stafford, placed ads across the country in employment guides and newspapers. The FTC alleged that the ads led consumers to believe that the defendants were hiring for postal jobs and were connected with, or endorsed by, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
According to the FTC, when consumers called a toll-free number, the defendants told consumers that they could help consumers register for and obtain postal employment by, among other things, providing materials to help them obtain a passing score on the postal examination. The defendants allegedly told consumers that jobs were available in the consumer’s area, and that passing the postal exam with a score of 90 or better would assure the consumer a postal job. The FTC’s action alleged that these representations were false.
According to the FTC, applicants for many entry-level jobs are required to take an exam, but the tests are usually offered only every few years in any postal district, and there are no job placement guarantees based on score. If applicants pass the test by scoring at least 70 out of 100, they are placed on a register and ranked by their score. When a job opens, the local post office looks to the register for that location and calls the top three applicants. The score is one of many criteria considered for employment. Information on postal jobs is available at local post offices or the USPS website. Applicants generally receive a free packet of information about exams that test general aptitude, something that cannot necessarily be increased by studying. More information is available at the USPS Web site, http://www.usps.com.
The settlement announced today brings a permanent end to misrepresentations by the defendants that:
The order settling the charges against the defendants imposes a $7 million dollar judgment against Success Express, Inc., Exam Resource Center, Inc., Occupational Advancement Center, Inc., Employment Resource, LLC, David James Daniell, and Wanda J. Taugner, and a $1 million dollar judgment against Kathy L. Stafford. The judgments are suspended based on the defendants’ inability to pay more. The Commission will collect approximately $540,000 from the defendants. If they misrepresented their financial status or fail to make required payments, the full judgments against them will become due.
The FTC received invaluable assistance in this matter from the United States Postal Inspection Service and the USPS.
The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the stipulated final order was 5-0. The stipulated final order for permanent injunction was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan on September 14.
NOTE: This stipulated final order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. A stipulated final order requires approval by the court and has the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the stipulated final order are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.htm. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to thousands of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
(Civil Action No. 1:05 CV0714)
( FTC File No. X06-0001)