August 4, 2014
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today announced that he has reached settlements with ISI Alarms NC, Inc. of North Carolina and JVersacio Corporation and its owner Joseph Versacio of Florida, over alleged violations of Missouri's No Call and Telemarketing Laws. Together, the companies will pay $17,500 in civil penalties, with the possibility of up to $200,000 in penalties if they violate the terms of the agreement. The settlements resolve lawsuits filed in March 2014 as part of the Attorney General's initiative to crack down on illegal telemarketing practices in Missouri.
Koster said his office received hundreds of consumer complaints regarding unwanted telemarketing calls attempting to sell home security products. To solicit customers, telemarketers for ISI Alarms claimed that the FBI had reported break-ins and burglaries in the consumers' neighborhoods.
Koster alleged that JVersacio Corp., which operated as "Central Security," made thousands of automated "robocalls" to consumer telephone numbers listed on Missouri's No Call Registry soliciting home security systems. Many Missourians reported receiving additional calls even after following instructions for removing themselves from further calls by pressing a specific number.
Under the terms of the agreement, both companies are prohibited from making any further telemarketing calls to Missouri residents without prior written consent. ISA Alarms and JVersacio will also pay the state $10,000 and $7,500 respectively in civil penalties, which will be used to pay for future enforcement actions and other consumer advocacy programs. Should either company violate the terms of their agreements, the court may impose penalties of up to $100,000 apiece.
"Home security businesses that solicit customers by misrepresenting local crime statistics are among the highest sources of consumer complaints to my office's No Call Hotline," said Koster. "These two companies repeatedly harassed consumers with a misleading sales pitch. We will continue to take swift action to protect Missouri consumers from these unwanted calls."
Koster reminds Missourians they can register their telephone numbers with the Missouri No Call list at ago.mo.gov or by calling 866-662-2551. Consumers who have registered for the No Call list but receive solicitation calls can file a complaint at 1-866-buzzoff (1-866-289-9633).