March 6, 2014
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster announced today multiple lawsuits filed across Missouri against telemarketers for violating Missouri's No Call and Telemarketing laws. In addition, Koster announced recent settlements and judgments against telemarketers, totaling several hundred thousand dollars.
Koster filed three lawsuits against companies selling home security and monitoring systems, alleging they falsely told consumers that the FBI had reported increased neighborhood burglaries. The cases were against North Carolina-based ISI Alarms, Inc., and its owner William Jayson Waller, filed in Boone County; Californian Peter B. Tolman, doing business as Leads Direct Marketing, filed in St. Charles County; and Florida-based Central Security and its owner Joseph Versacio, filed in Jackson County. Home security companies generate the second highest number of complaints to the Attorney General's No Call Unit, behind credit card debt servicing companies.
In addition, Attorney General Koster filed suit in Greene County against Ozark Liquidation, Inc., and its President Phillip Zieser for soliciting Missourians on the No Call registry for timeshare liquidation services and seminars, and in St. Charles County against Floridian Michael Major, who was doing business as "Major Data," for soliciting Missourians on the No Call registry, to buy home health care supplies.
In each of the lawsuits, Koster seeks $5,000 per violation of the Missouri No Call Law, up to $1,000 per violation of the Telemarketing Law, and injunctions prohibiting the defendants from making further telemarketing calls in the state.
"Missourians place their phone numbers on our No Call list for a very simple reason – they do not want to receive annoying, unwanted sales calls," said Koster. "When they ask the company for the calls to stop, they should stop. That’s the law."
Koster also announced the following recent settlements and judgments reached in previously-filed lawsuits against telemarketers:
All of the settlements and the judgment prohibit the companies from making further unsolicited telemarketing calls in Missouri.
"To date the office's No Call unit has obtained approximately $4 million in fines and judgments against firms that violate our No Call and telemarketing laws," said Koster. "We continue to protect consumers from being harassed by unwanted calls by aggressively pursuing telemarketers that violate our laws."
Koster advised consumers who receive unsolicited telemarketing calls to never provide personal financial information, such as a credit card number or social security number, and to hang up when they receive automated messages such as "Press 2 to be removed from our list." Koster warned pressing a key can confirm that the consumer's line is a working number, resulting in more calls. Finally, he recommended against providing a phone number when entering contests, which can then be sold to unscrupulous telemarketers.
Koster reminds Missourians that they can sign up for the No Call List online or by calling 866-No Call 1 (866-662-2551). Consumers who receive harassing telephone solicitations can file a complaint at 866-Buzzoff (866-289-9633). Missourians can register both landline and cell numbers with Missouri's No Call List. To-date, Missourians have added more than 4.3 million numbers to the No Call Registry.