Feature Films for Families
Feature Films for Families (FFFF) is a privately owned company that sends out videos that its website, named Family TV, calls "family movies with family values". The company, its owner, and related companies have been the subject of several government and phone company lawsuits concerning deceptive practices and illegal telemarketing, including calling people again who had told the companies to stop calling, and targeting "parents and grandparents" with false "fundraiser" claims after the victims received DVDs and a survey.
Feature Films for Families was based out of Murray, Utah. It initially distributed films that were in the public domain such as It's a Wonderful Life. It then moved to buying distribution rights. The first film it produced that won an award was Seasons of the Heart.
Produced and distributed movies
Feature Films for Families has made several direct-to-video movies. Included are titles such as The ButterCream Gang,[dead link] Rigoletto,[dead link] The Velveteen Rabbit, Picture Perfect, On Our Own and The Retrievers.
Telemarketing and fraud charges
In 2009, Feature Films for Families and the Dove Foundation together paid $70,000 to Missouri's Merchandising Practices Revolving Fund after using the Dove Foundation to solicit on behalf of the for-profit Feature Films for Families to attempt to evade the Missouri No Call law. Feature Films for Families had created an alliance with the Dove Foundation, a non-profit foundation which is known for its activities of rating, reviewing, and endorsing films. The two companies worked together via telemarketing, but because Feature Films for Families is a for-profit corporation, this allegiance violated Missouri's No Call law.
In 2010, Verizon Wireless filed suit against Feature Films for Families after the company allegedly placed nearly 500,000 illegal automated telemarketing calls in ten days to the mobile phones on Verizon's network. The calls were recorded advertisements for the FFFF film The Velveteen Rabbit.
In a related suit in May 2011, the Justice Department, acting for the Federal Trade Commission, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Florida charging Feature Films for Families, Inc., its owner Forrest S. Baker III, and two other companies owned by Baker — named "Corporations for Character, L.C." and "Family Films of Utah" — with "waging deceptive and illegal telemarketing campaigns pitching movies and soliciting for donations, including calls to more than 16 million phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry." The complaint seeks "a court order to permanently bar the defendants from violating the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule, as well as civil penalties, and disgorgement of their ill-gotten gains." Among the behavior described by the complaint:
- Calling over 2 million Do Not Call Registry numbers in a space of only two weeks.
- Calling people again who had already told the companies not to call them.
- Using fake Caller ID names like "CUSTOMER SVC", "FAMILY VALUES CB", and "VELVETEEN", and failing to orally identify the seller, the purpose of the call, and the nature of what was being advertised.
- Claiming that "all of the proceeds of this fundraiser will help us finish up creating this recommended viewing list to help parents and grandparents, like us, with a list we can trust" when the organization responsible for the list was not receiving all of the money, and the for-profit companies kept at least 93% of the proceeds.
- Doing additional telemarketing on behalf of organizations whose names were related to police and firefighters, and claiming that the administrative costs were a "very minimal amount", then keeping most of the donations for the telemarketers themselves.
- "Family TV". Salt Lake City: Feature Films for Families. Retrieved 2013-08-29.
- "FTC Charges Utah Operation with Deceptive and Abusive Telemarketing" (Press release). Federal Trade Commission. 2011-05-09. Retrieved 2011-07-29.
- IMDB, April 24, 1994
- http://www.familytv.com/search.aspx?s=The+Buttercream+gang[dead link]
- http://www.familytv.com/search.aspx?s=No+More+Baths[dead link]
- "Missouri No Call suit nets $70,000 settlement". St. Louis Business Journal. August 22, 2006. Retrieved December 2, 2008.
- "Verizon Wireless sues Velveteen Rabbit promoters". Reuters. February 25, 2009.
- US v. Feature Films for Families, Inc., Corporations for Character, L.C., Family Films of Utah, Inc., and Forrest Sandusky Baker III, ... (Case No. 11-197; FTC File No. 102-3023). N.D. Fla. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2011-07-29