California Settles First DNC Lawsuit for $100,000

American Home Craft agreed to pay $100,000 to settle the first lawsuit ever brought under the national no-call law, California attorney general Bill Lockyer announced this week.

The vinyl-siding company will pay $45,000 in civil penalties, $30,000 to the state for the cost of the investigation and $25,000 to more than 120 California residents who filed no-call complaints against it. That amounts to more than $200 per consumer.

American Home Craft, Hayward, CA, did not return a call for comment yesterday. Chief operating officer Sanjay Khurana told The Associated Press that the calls occurred because of a technology glitch and that the company has taken steps to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Along with the fine, the company must implement new procedures to comply with the national no-call law, including making plans for recording, investigating and reporting complaints and instituting proper training programs for employees.

The California attorney general's office was the first government agency to start an enforcement action under the federal no-call law. It also is pursuing a second case against LMA Marketing, New Smyrna Beach, FL, on allegations that the company disguised commercial calls about mortgage refinancing as non-commercial survey calls and contacted 250 consumers on the no-call list. That company also has received a citation from the Federal Communications Commission on allegations of no-call violations.

Ohio filed a lawsuit against Shelterguard, Columbus, OH, on allegations that it called 50 consumers on the no-call list. The Federal Trade Commission, which maintains the list, alleged that Consumer Credit Council, Santa Ana, CA, has violated the list, but the agency is pursuing a lawsuit against the company under pre-existing fraud statutes.

The FTC issued updated no-call registration and complaint figures yesterday, the one-year anniversary of the list's official launch, at a Rose Garden ceremony with President Bush. So far, 62 million consumers have registered for the list.

The agency has received 428,764 complaints of no-call violations since October 2003, when enforcement began. Consumers have filed complaints against 130,000 companies, of which 200 have had 100 or more complaints.

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