Power Home Remodeling Settles Phone-Solicitation LawsuitOctober 17th, 2016 by Trey Barrineau
Power Home Remodeling Group has agreed to pay $5.2 million to settle a class action lawsuit over unsolicited automated phone calls.
U.S. District Judge Mark Kearney of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania approved the agreement last week. The judge’s decision notes that the company has already changed its business practices regarding calls to cellphones.
“We approve the negotiated settlement as fair, reasonable and adequate after finding immediate changes in the sales-lead company’s business practices on cellphone sales calls and an opportunity to file a claim to recover damages,” Kearney wrote in his opinion.
The case began when a Home Depot customer in New Jersey, Teofilo Vasco, gave his cellphone number to a salesperson. According to Vasco, Power Home Remodeling Group then called him 21 times with automated recorded messages that attempted to solicit business from him. Vasco sued the company under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
After Power Home Remodeling provided samples of call records, Vasco and his legal team discovered that there could be more than 1.1 million potential litigants, Kearney said.
“As a result of the litigation, Power Home modified its business practices on consent and cellphone calls,” the judge wrote in his decision.
After mediation, a settlement agreement was reached in December 2015.
Chip Gentry of the Call & Gentry law firm in Jefferson City, Mo., who specializes in legal issues facing door and window companies, says the case should be a wake-up call for businesses in the industry that engage in these practices.
“Remodelers and other home improvement companies must learn from the lessons provided by the recent $5.2 million settlement,” he told DWM. “While margins are tight and the competition for customers is fierce, companies need to be wary and make certain they are not using auto-dialing systems, artificial voice messages, SMS text messages and fax machines inappropriately. The best practice is to seek competent legal advice to avoid the numerous landmines under the TCPA. Investing a bit up front may just save you $5.2 million or more in the future.”