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Misleading mailings lead to settlement with Idaho AG

by ROSE SHABABY
Staff Writer | September 9, 2021 1:00 AM

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has announced a consumer protection settlement agreement with a Boise-based lead-generation company operating nationwide.

The settlement with Senior Supplemental Referral Service, LLC, dba “Need-A-Lead” resolves concerns over the content and design of the company’s direct mail solicitations, the AG’s office said in a press release.

Senior Supplemental Referral Service, owned by Brady Eddins, mails solicitations to consumers to generate customer leads for insurance agents and other third parties.

“My office received complaints about these solicitations from consumers throughout the U.S.,” Wasden said. “Legitimate, hard-working Idaho businesses don’t use misleading marketing tactics to attract customers.”

The Attorney General found the graphics made the solicitation appear as if it originated from a government office rather than a commercial entity. Wasden’s office found the solicitation:

failed to disclose it was an ad for insurance;

excluded material terms and conditions a consumer needs in order to make an informed decision about whether to respond; and

created a false sense of urgency for consumers by using words like “time sensitive” and “second notice.”

The agreement requires Senior Supplemental Referral Service to change its envelope and solicitation designs to comply with the Idaho Consumer Protection Act. For example, the company must explain in the solicitation that an insurance agent (or other licensed professional) will contact the consumer if the consumer responds to the mailing. Senior Supplemental Referral Service also may not use misleading graphics or false words of urgency.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller reached a similar settlement with Senior Supplemental Referral Service in 2018. As of now, Idaho and Iowa are the only two states that have taken action against Senior Supplemental Referral Service, however, Scott Graf, Wasden’s public information officer, said that the “settlement affects mailings the company makes from within Idaho, regardless of where the mailing is being sent or where it is received.”

As part of the agreement, the company paid Wasden’s office $3,000 for fees and costs.

Neither Eddins nor a representative for Senior Supplemental Referral Service responded to requests for comment.

The BBB offers these tips for consumers who receive mailings like these:

Research the business before sending any information or paying money. Check the company’s BBB Profile at bbb.org.

Be wary of mailers offering free publications, information or gifts. These often are inducements to get you to provide personal contact information.

Never respond to mailings and never provide personal information to anyone unless you know specifically who is requesting it and why.

By responding to a mailing, you may be giving a telemarketer approval to contact you.

If you have fallen victim to the misleading mailings, help BBB warn others by filing a complaint at bbb.org/complaints.