A Las Vegas telemarketing company that allegedly made more than 300,000 telephone calls to people on the U.S. Do Not Call registry Tuesday became the first company to be sued by the Federal Trade Commission under the landmark privacy legislation.
The FTC said it would seek fines for violations of the Do Not Call Registry by Braglia Marketing Group, a telemarketing firm based in Las Vegas. The lawsuit also names Braglia's two principals, Frank and Kate Braglia.
According to the FTC, Braglia makes sales calls on behalf of real estate developers selling time share resort properties in Atlantic City, N.J. Its clients include Flagship Resort Development Corporation and Atlantic Palace Development.
The suit, filed by the Justice department on behalf of the FTC, will be the first courtroom test of the “do-not-call” provisions of the Telemarketing Sales Rule legislation which went into effect 11 months ago.
Since then Americans have placed more than 63 million home and mobile telephone numbers on the do-not-call list. Telemarketers who violate the rules face penalties of up to $11,000 per call. Charitable and political callers are exempt from the provisions, provided they respect consumer requests not to be called back.
Federal regulators claim that in addition to making calls to hundreds of thousands of registered phone numbers since October 17, 2003, Braglia also made more than 10,000 calls to various phone numbers without first paying the mandated annual fee to access the registered numbers in those area codes.
Representatives of Braglia could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
In December, the FTC warned a California mortgage company to stop calling households on the national Do Not Call Registry, the first time a telemarketer has been taken to task for violating the program.
In July, AT&T, the telecommunications group that maintains the registry, agreed to pay $490,000 to settle FCC charges that it made repeated calls to 29 consumers who had asked not to be called back — a violation of earlier telemarketing rules put in place in 1991. But the FCC closed a second investigation into complaints that AT&T had violated the do-not-call list.