The North Carolina Carolina Attorney General filed suit yesterday against now-defunct alarm company ISI Alarms NC, Inc. and its owner, seeking civil penalties for automated calls (a/k/a “robocalls”) the company made to consumers.
The AG alleges that more than 1,000 North Carolina consumers contacted his office to complain after receiving robocalls that claimed that the authorities, including the FBI, had received reports of recent break-ins in the area. The automated message prompted consumers to press a certain number to learn more about recent crimes in their area. Consumers were then transferred to a call center operated by ISI Alarms and heard a pitch for the company’s home alarm system and alarm monitoring services. The automated message gave listeners the option to press a different number to stop the calls, which consumers said did not work.
The Complaint alleges that thousands of such calls were placed to North Carolina home and cell telephone numbers on behalf of ISI Alarm during the past two years, and that the company saw its sales quadruple as a result.
Many consumers who reported getting these unwanted calls had listed their phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry. Under both state and federal laws, it’s illegal to make most commercial telemarketing calls to home and mobile telephone numbers listed on the Do Not Call Registry. North Carolina law also makes sales calls that use recorded messages illegal even if the call recipients haven’t joined the Registry.
The Complaint also alleges that the AG’s office contacted the alarm company about the complaints, but that the calls continued. And, the alarm company refused to disclose the contact information for its lead generators, who actually placed the calls on the company’s behalf.
The AG has asked the court to award $500 for the first violation, $1,000 for the second, and $5,000 for all successive violations of the North Carolina Telephone Solicitations Act; or $5,000 for each violation of the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Read the complaint here: ISI-Alarms-Filed-Complaint.