Posted on 16 Sep 03
In our last newsletter we addressed the issue of the new Dont Call/Dont Fax regulations and identified numerous resources available to the insurance industry. Additionally the September issue of Audio Insurance Outlook http://www.soundmarketing.com/outlookPB.htm contains an in-depth interview with Larry Neilson of Storefront Owner National Marketing Services http://www.programbusiness.com/tracking/sftracker.asp?SFid=128 on this topic.
Over the past week, the following news story surfaced in regards to a legal action filed against Allstate and its telemarketer in the state of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher announced that his Bureau of Consumer Protection has filed a legal action against Illinois-based Allstate Insurance Company and its telemarketer for allegedly violating Pennsylvania's "Do Not Call" law. The enforcement action follows an investigation into complaints from nearly 60 consumers predominantly located in the 610, 215 and 717 area codes who claimed that they were illegally contacted by Allstate agents or the telemarketer.
Fisher said his office has entered into an "Assurance of Voluntary Compliance" agreement with Northbrook, IL-based Allstate and Telemarketing Results Inc. of Mound, Minnesota, to resolve alleged violations of Pennsylvania's Telemarketer Registration Act and Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.
According to investigators, T.R.I. and several Allstate agents located in Pennsylvania contacted consumers registered on Pennsylvania's "Do Not Call" list to promote and sell insurance policies and services. The calls were made between December 2002 and June 2003. The state's "Do Not Call" law went into effect for telemarketers on November 1, 2002, 30 days after the first quarterly `no-call' list was available. T.R.I. purchased the "no-call" list but is accused of failing to implement it properly. Allstate's agents had access to the "no-call" list and are accused of contacting several consumers who were on the statewide "no-call" registry. Investigators said the majority of illegal calls were made by T.R.I.
"Enforcement action in this case was taken against the company and its telemarketer because both are accused of failing to comply with several provisions of the `no-call' law in Pennsylvania," Fisher said. "Many consumers told my office that they had difficulty figuring out who was contacting them because the callers failed to properly identify themselves or the company on whose behalf they were calling." Fisher said consumers also complained that the callers failed to provide them, upon request, with a contact telephone number and address, which is also required under the Telemarketer Registration Act.
Under the terms of the agreement, Allstate and T.R.I. admit no wrongdoing and agree to:
-- Fully comply with the Telemarketer Registration Act and Consumer Protection Law.
-- Promptly identify themselves, who they work for or on whose behalf they are calling.
-- Cease the solicitation when consumers indicate that they wish to end the call.
-- Provide consumers, upon request, with a contact number and address.
-- Pay civil penalties and the Commonwealth's investigation costs.
Allstate will pay $8,000 in civil penalties and $2,000 for investigation costs. T.R.I is required to pay $12,000 in civil penalties and $1,000 for investigation costs. Fisher said under the law, consumers who filed formal complaints with his office are entitled to share 10 percent of the civil penalties obtained. In this case, 58 consumers will each receive $34.48.