North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
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AG Cooper stops illegal telemarketing by satellite seller

Release date: 12/1/2005

Illinois telemarketer broke Do Not Call laws, sold information it collected to satellite firms

Raleigh: An Illinois telemarketer that made illegal prerecorded calls to collect information about potential customers and then sold it to satellite television dealers has been ordered to stop calling people in North Carolina, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today.

“This telemarketer bothered people who’d made it clear they didn’t want to get sales calls at home,” said Cooper. “Not only were these calls illegal, but the telemarketers weren’t even selling what they were pitching. Instead, they were trolling for potential customers so they could turn around and sell their names to another company.”

In a preliminary injunction granted today in Wake County Superior Court by Judge Donald W. Stephens, Guardian Communications of Moline, Illinois is barred from calling North Carolinians while the case goes forward. Cooper’s office is also seeking to permanently stop Guardian’s telemarketing calls into the state and make them pay fines and penalties.

In a complaint filed in Wake County Superior Court this week by Cooper’s office, Guardian Communications is alleged to have called North Carolina homes to pitch satellite television service using illegal tactics such as prerecorded messages and calling numbers listed on the Do Not Call Registry. The company, which does not actually provide satellite service, then sold the information it collected about people to satellite firms who were looking for potential customers.

One consumer from Summerfield, NC described the call she got from Guardian in March 2005: “When I said ‘Hello’ no one responded,” she said. “After a delay, a sales representative continued to speak in the same speed and tone. It was obviously a pre-recorded message and I hung up immediately.” Under North Carolina law, prerecorded telemarketing calls are illegal unless a live operator first asks if the consumer wishes to listen to the message.

North Carolina’s case against Guardian was brought by Cooper’s Telemarketing Fraud Task Force, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. Since the Do Not Call Registry began in 2003, Cooper’s Task Force has taken dozens of telemarketers to court for breaking Do Not Call laws and recovered more than $250,000 from violators.

“When someone puts their phone number on the Do Not Call list, companies need to respect their wishes and stop calling. If you’ve placed your number on the list but still get calls, let my office know about it,” said Cooper.

To report Do Not Call violators, call the Attorney General’s Office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM. To place your number on the Do Not Call Registry, call (888) 382-1222 from the number you wish to register or visit www.ncdoj.gov .