Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell has announced that the Green Mountain State will receive $90,000 from Main Street Power Mail, Inc., of Sheridan, Indiana, which generated leads for insurance agents by sending direct mailings to Vermonters, many of them elderly, asking for personal information without explaining how the information would be used. Such activity is a violation of state and federal law. Under the settlement, Main Street Power Mail will pay the State $90,000 and be required to clearly disclose the purpose of its mailings in the future. This marks the second in the past three months that imposes sanctions on companies that used Vermonters’ personal information for commercial reasons without their informed consent.
“We will not tolerate businesses using deception to obtain consumers’ private information.” — Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell.
During the period March 2012 to March 2013, Main Street Power Mail sent over 30,000 mailings to Vermont consumers. Many of these mailings implied that the sender was simply offering to provide information or a brochure to the recipient, free of charge, using language such as “To receive complete NO-COST information on this newly-approved [insurance] plan …, return this postage-paid card TODAY.”
In fact, the mailings were intended to induce consumers to send information—including the ages of the consumer and his or her spouse—to be used by Main Street Power Mail’s clients, the insurance agents, to market insurance products.
Under the settlement, Main Street Power Mail:
- Must comply strictly with all provisions of Vermont and federal law.
- Refrain from contacting any Vermont consumer, by mail or other means, for the purpose of generating business leads without clearly and conspicuously disclosing the fact that if the consumer responds to the contact, he or she may be solicited to purchase a described product or service (for example, “An agent may contact you to sell insurance products.”).
- Pay $90,000 to the State of Vermont.