Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it has commenced an action against KFJ Marketing, LLC, Sunlight Solar Leads, LLC and Go Green Education and an officer of each of the three (3) mentioned companies, respectively (collectively, “Defendants”), for violations of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule. The complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that the Defendants placed more than 1.3 million pre-recorded “robocalls” to consumers with telephone numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. The FTC is seeking damages of up to $16,000 per violation.
How Did the Defendants Violate the Telemarketing Sales Rule?
FTC Alleges Violations of the Telemarketing Sales Rule
The FTC alleges that the Defendants violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule by placing robocalls to consumers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. According to the complaint, the subject robocalls contained messages stating that “this is an urgent call about your energy bill” and “stop the 14% increase coming soon.” The pre-recorded message directed consumers to press “1” on their phones to “lower their electric bill[s]” according to the FTC. If consumers pressed “1,” they were transferred to a live agent that was attempting to solicit leads for solar panel installation companies. The telemarketing sales agents would schedule an appointment with interested consumers, and then sell the leads to private solar panel installation companies. The FTC further alleged that “[i]n numerous instances, Defendants continued to call consumers who had previously informed Defendants that they did not wish to receive additional calls by or on behalf of Defendants.”
In addition, the FTC also alleged that the Defendants violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule by “spoofing” calls – transmitting phony caller identification information so that consumers did not know the true source of the calls.
We have previously blogged about changes made to the Do Not Call regulations by the FTC. As demonstrated by this announcement, the FTC continues to actively enforce the Telemarketing Sales Rule. As such, lead generators are advised to consult with competent counsel to ensure that their business practices are in strict compliance with the latest federal and state telemarketing rules.