Real estate brokerage firms should be aware of a recent wave of class-action lawsuits under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which restricts unwanted telemarketing calls and texts to consumers.
The TCPA prohibits telemarketing calls and text messages to personal phone numbers listed on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry without prior express written consent. It also requires a caller to obtain prior express written consent before using an autodialer to send telemarketing calls or texts, even when the number is not on the DNC registry. The law covers any call or text that solicits the purchase of goods or services, including those asking consumers to buy or list a home or property.
These lawsuits can be expensive since the TCPA allows statutory damages of $500-$1,500 for each call or text made in violation of the act. Plaintiffs often target real estate brokerage firms over individual agents, and a class action lawsuit potentially could cover anyone who has received a call or text from the company over the last four years.
The following are a few recent lawsuits filed against real estate brokerage firms under the TCPA:
As always, you should seek guidance from legal counsel who is experienced in TCPA issues on how you can communicate with customers in compliance with this complex federal law.
Sue Johnson is the former executive director of RESPRO, the Real Estate Services Providers Council Inc. She retired in 2015 and is now a strategic alliance consultant.
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