May, 1999 – A jury in Hale County, Alabama, awarded the largest verdict at that time in Alabama history to a family duped by a sales and finance scam. The scam involved soliciting customers to buy satellite dishes and requiring them to finance them on a bogus credit card. The family in this case was told they would make payments for a certain amount of time when in actuality their payments would last for a much longer period. The family was grossly overcharged with an astronomical interest rate and all sorts of add-ons were added to the retail cost of the dish.
The company received thousands of complaints regarding these sales practices, but because of their huge profits from the scam, it continued to engage in these activities. Testimony at trial indicated the company’s agents targeted certain people in our society to perpetuate the scheme, primarily low-income folks with little education. It should be noted that one of the victims who bought a dish was blind and had no TV set in her home.
As a result of this verdict, the finance company stopped all of its activities in the State of Alabama. Other finance companies got the message to quit these activities as this case was explained by Beasley Allen attorney Tom Methvin, who tried the case along with LaBarron Boone, on Good Morning America, The O’Reilly Factor, and many other news outlets. This type of fraudulent marketing was essentially stopped dead in its tracks. We settled a larger number of cases where this company has charged purchasers as they did in this case.