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Be Careful with Telemarketing laws – PERS operation targeted in Florida
December 14, 2020
Be Careful with Telemarketing laws – PERS operation targeted in in Florida
            A medical alert company, Lifewatch, was sued in Florida for persistent violation of telemarketing laws.  The lawsuit sought an injunction, to shut down the operation and lots of money in damages.  The company used a telemarketing firm that made robo calls to senior citizens offering “free” medical alert systems and other inducements, including grocery coupons.  The tele sales call claimed that the systems were paid for by a family member or friend and was free.  Eventually the sales pitch did explain the monthly charge for the monitoring service.  
            The telemarketing company called numbers on the Do Not Call list and engaged in deceptive sales practices.  Hundreds of millions of robo calls were made.  When challenged by Florida Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission the telemarketing the firm ceased operations.  That didn’t deter Lifewatch and it started telemarketing on its own apparently using the same pitch.  
            According to press reports in 2015 Lifewatch’s attorney claimed that Lifewatch contested the allegations and would litigate it out in court.
            The lawsuit ended in June 2019, and it didn’t end well for Lifewatch and others in the alarm or PERS business.  The Lifewatch defendants entered into a stipulation settling the lawsuit.  You can read it here:
            Defendants agreed to comply with the Do Not Call Registry, end deceptive practices and agreed to a $25 million dollar judgment against them.  They put up their homes and assets to secure payments of $2 million dollars, which the court ordered them to pay. The judgment for the rest of the money was suspended, which I believe was intended to mean that the enforcement of the judgment was suspended so long as the $2 million dollar payment schedule was complied with.  
         The company was also required to send all its customers a letter explaining that they could cancel their contract and get their money back if paid after the date of the order.  Defendants were lucky they weren’t required to refund all money paid.
            There are a few lessons to be learned.  
  *  comply with all license laws
  *  comply with all telemarketing laws
  *  comply with all consumer laws
  *  do not engage in deceptive business practices
  *  be extremely cautious how you handle consumer complaints
  *  be even more cautious how you respond to and handle AHJ complaints from the attorney general, consumer affairs and licensing authority. 

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301