Under the Telemarketing Sales Rule, consumers are allowed to add their names to a telemarketer's internal do-not-call list even where the consumer has a pre-existing business relationship with the company or is not listed on the national Do Not Call Registry. The complaint against AGI, filed in November 2011, alleged that the company did not honor basic do-not-call requests unless consumers used specific language beyond what the law requires. This case marks the first time the government has pursued this type of alleged misconduct in a Telemarketing Sales Rule case. The complaint further alleged that AGI violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule by transmitting names other than its own or those of its clients to consumer caller ID devices.
The case was referred to the Department of Justice by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which oversees and investigates violations of the Telemarketing Sales Rule. More than 3,000 consumer complaints concerning Telemarketing Sales Rule violations by AGI led the FTC to investigate the company.
Along with the civil penalty, AGI agreed to an injunction barring the company from violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule in the future.
"Sometimes we don't want to be bothered by unsolicited, unwanted sales calls--that's why we have the Telemarketing Sales Rule," said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. "And that's why companies that ignore consumers' wishes and play games with the telemarketing rules will be held accountable."
The case, United States v. Americall Group Inc., was filed in the Northern District of Illinois.
Assistant Attorney General West thanked the FTC for its assistance with this matter. The Consumer Protection Branch of the Justice Department's Civil Division brought the case on behalf of the United States.