Akron-based InfoCision and the Ohio Attorney General's Office coming to terms on a complaint over the company's work soliciting for charity groups.
Without admitting to any wrongdoing, InfoCision will pay $75,000 to the Attorney General's office and submit monthly audio recordings of their phone solicitations, as well as submit advance scripts.
(News release) Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today an Assurance of Discontinuance agreement with Akron-based InfoCision Management Corporation regarding its professional solicitation services on behalf of various charitable organizations.
"Charitable contributions are vital to our communities, and donors must be confident their funds are properly and honestly solicited," said Attorney General DeWine.
An investigation by the Attorney General's Charitable Law Section found reason to believe InfoCision violated several sections of the Ohio Charitable Organizations Act, including making misleading statements and failing to make required disclosures during the course of charitable solicitations, and failing to comply with statutory filing requirements. InfoCision denies the Attorney General's conclusions in the Assurance that it violated the law and these facts were never litigated. However, in order to resolve these matters, the settlement agreement was reached.
In the Assurance, InfoCision agrees to fully abide by the state's laws on soliciting charitable contributions from Ohioans and agrees to:
- Stop all misleading behavior and making misrepresentations as to the percentage of donations that a charity will receive
- For two years, submit a copy of a sample script and sample pledge form to the Attorney General before starting a solicitation campaign
- For one year, submit at least 15 audio recordings of its solicitation calls to the Attorney General on a monthly basis
- During solicitations, clearly and conspicuously disclose its status as a professional solicitor, its name, and the charity's name and address
- Pay stipulated penalties for any future violations of filing and disclosure requirements
In addition, InfoCision will pay $75,000 to the Attorney General's Office. This amount will be distributed by the Attorney General for charitable purposes.
Attorney General DeWine reminds potential donors that when they receive calls seeking a donation to ask questions about who is calling and what their connection is to the specific charity. Professional solicitors, who are paid by charities to solicit on their behalf, must provide basic information about the charity and its location, in addition to their own name, their status as a professional solicitor, and if requested, the percentage of gross revenue that will be retained by the charity.
Citizens are urged to ask for written information in advance of making a gift and to refrain from sharing bank or credit card information on unexpected telephone calls. Consumers should also not provide bank or credit card information over the phone. Warning signs include overly aggressive or pushy tactics, callers who are unable or unwilling to answer questions, callers who offer to come pick up contributions, or callers who suggest there are prizes awarded for contributions. At any point during a call, consumers are encouraged to hang up if they feel uncomfortable.
Consumers can get additional information about wise giving strategies or access lists of registered professional solicitors in Ohio by visiting the Attorney General's web page at www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov or are welcome to call 1-800-282-0515 for additional information.
Consumers are urged to contact the office with information about fraudulent or worrisome charitable solicitations by filing an online charitable complaint or calling the office.