California fines $55,000 for "Do Not Call"!!

Originally Posted By: rbracklow
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.

Wow, here is a heavy fine for a supposed accident!!

Nation's First Do Not Call Case Settled
In California, the nation's first Do Not Call bust is now the first Do Not Call case closed -- with a $45,000 judgment against the defendant who calls the case "an honest mistake" caused by technology.

The San Francisco U.S. District Court's judgment requires Hayward, CA-based home improvement company American Home Craft, Inc. to pay civil penalties of $30,000 for the costs of investigating and prosecuting the case and $25,000 in restitution to California residents who lodged complaints with state and federal agencies.

Individual consumers who filed a complaint against the company prior to the entry of the judgment will receive damages of up to $200 each.

Licensed in California as a general contractor offering window, painting, roofing, decorating and other home improvement services from offices in Irvine, Sacramento, and San Diego, as well as Hayward, the firm has an otherwise unblemished record.

Sanjay Khurana, the company's chief operating officer, told the Association Press (AP) the problem "was an honest mistake ... due to a technology glitch," without elaborating.

"We're on the same side as the attorney general and the people of California" in wanting to protect privacy rights, Khurana told the news service.

He told AP the company is now watching its list "like a hawk" to prevent a repeat.

In November, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed a civil complaint against the company and charged it with allegedly placing phone calls to households that had registered their phone numbers with the federal Do Not Call Registry.

Consumers also complained they continued to receive unsolicited telemarketing calls even after they had requested to be placed on the company's internal Do Not Call list, also a violation of federal regulations.

After households and others register their phone numbers with the registry they are soon supposed to be rid of most unwanted telemarketing calls for five years. Five years later, phone number owners have to re-up with the registry.

More than 62 million phone numbers are now on the Do Not Call list, and nearly half a million Do Not Call complaints have been filed, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The California suit initially sought at least $100,000 in fines and a permanent injunction requiring the company to abide by the law charging that it never attempted to purchase the Do Not Call registry available to telemarketers since September 1, 2003.

The complaint also alleged dozens of complaints were filed by Californians in 12 area codes near the company's offices.

The charges against American Home Craft have nothing to do with the company's quality of work or with its apparent ability to get the job done. Along with an otherwise unblemished state license and performance record, American Home Craft is listed as a League Of California Homeowners Approved contractor.

The Upland, CA consumer group assists its members -- homeowners -- in 20 states with home improvement, ownership and buying issues. It also offers, among other services, a referral service to approved contractors and other approved real estate related services.

To get League approval, contractors must be licensed, and in good standing with California's licensing agency, the California Contractors State License Board, they must be properly insured with liability and workers compensation insurance, they must have clean court records (for job- and finance-releated issues), good credit reports and solid customer and business references as evidence of sound work.

In the Do Not Call ruling, in addition to the financial judgment, American Home Craft must comply with federal and state law and must implement compliance procedures that include plans for recording, investigating and reporting Do Not Call complaints and ensure their employees are properly trained in those procedures.

Lockyer also has similar outstanding litigation in a second suit filed against L.M.A. Marketing Inc., a Florida-based company, doing business as Mortgage Concepts, and charged with pretending to conduct surveys in an effort to contact California consumers about refinancing their mortgages.

Mortgage firms top the list of companies targeted with official Do Not Call actions.

As of this spring the FTC had issued eight Do Not Call citations, at least seven of them to mortgage finance firms.

Written by Broderick Perkins


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