A seller of bogus 9/11 coins has been ordered to pay $750,000 to the Federal Trade Commission for deceiving customers.
The FTC accused the company of charging customers for items they never ordered and failing to identify the products as imitations. The Port Chester, N.Y.-based National Collector’s Mint had claimed that coins contained silver from Ground Zero.
The bogus 9/11 coins came under attack from New York Senator Charles Schumer, who said the nation would not tolerate such a “despicable scam.” A law passed in 2010 created an official 9/11 coin to benefit a museum being built at the World Trade Center site, The Associated Press noted. Schumer had complained that the bogus 9/11 coins cold deprive the museum of funds.
The FTC claimed that when customers called the National Collector’s Mint number to order, an automated answering system presented them with other offers. The customers were unable to bypass the offers, and customers found that the company included add-ons to their bill even if they stated they only wanted the coins, Consumerist reported.
The bogus 9/11 coin scam was so blatant that the company was almost daring the government to act, Consumerist added:
“Thing is, the folks at the National Collector’s Mint hadn’t been given any sort of exclusive authority by the government to make the coins. And though one might not need anyone’s approval to sell a piece of metal commemorating the tragic event, you probably shouldn’t stamp that piece of metal with the words “One Dollar” if you don’t want to tick off the government.”
Customers who tried to get refunds for their purchases ran into a number of obstacles, the FTC claims. Those who wanted refunds for the bogus 9/11 coins found they would have to pay for insurance and shipping before refunds were given. Those who spent more than $100 had to speak to a live phone representative, but many customers said they were not able to reach a live human being on the phone.