FTC halts bogus "gold card" scheme

| Monday, December 10, 2001

At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. District Court has shut down an operation deceptively selling its gold card by representing it as a MasterCard or Visa. The defendants' assets have been frozen and a receiver has been appointed pending trial on FTC charges the scheme violates the FTC Act.

The defendants - Salyon Inc., also doing business as First Liberty Financial, Salyon National Credit, Shop Salyon, Quicklinks.com, and their principals, Mark Joseph Lyon, John Donald Lyon and Kurt Charles Uhler - based in Aliso Viejo and Lake Forest, CA.

According to the FTC, the Salyon companies enticed consumers, who had negative credit histories, with promises of high credit limits and 0 percent interest rates. For fees ranging from $49 to $64, consumers instead received a "merchant card" to purchase only items from the defendants' web sites or catalogs. Additionally, cardholders could charge only 30 to 50 percent of the purchase price. They had to pay the remainder using a check or money order. According to the FTC, consumers only learned the cards were not full-service credit cards after they had paid the defendants.

At the request of the FTC, the court issued a temporary restraining order, an asset freeze and the appointment of a receiver. The agency will seek a preliminary and permanent injunction and consumer restitution.

To file a complaint, or to get free consumer information, call toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357), or use the complaint form at www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.htm.
By Rene Tankersly

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