Pennsylvania Attorney General Jerry Pappert announced that Sunset Mortgage Company LP must pay $20,000 in fines and fees after an investigation confirmed that it failed to purchase the "no-call" list, and falsely told Pennsylvanians on the statewide registry that it was exempt from the Do-Not-Call law.
Pappert's Bureau of Consumer Protection has entered into a consent agreement with Sunset Mortgage Company LP, located at 1408 West Baltimore Pike, Franklin Center in Delaware County, Pa. The company has offices in Wilmington, Del. and Blair, Mercer and York counties in Pennsylvania. The consent agreement finalizes a lawsuit that was filed by the Bureau in February, accusing Sunset of violating the state's Consumer Protection Law and Telemarketer Registration Act.
The lawsuit was filed following an investigation into complaints from consumers located in Beaver, Blair, Cambria, Crawford, Delaware, Lancaster, Perry, Montgomery, Washington and York counties. The consumers were all properly registered on the state's "no-call" list when they received calls made on behalf of the defendant.
Pennsylvania's Do-Not-Call law took effect for telemarketers on Nov. 1, 2002. The suit accused the defendant of failing to purchase the Do-Not-Call list before engaging in telemarketing activities from January 2003 through July 2003.
According to the suit, the defendant's telemarketers contacted consumers at home in an attempt to sell the company's mortgage refinancing services. During the course of these calls, consumers complained that they were on the state's "no-call" list and should not be solicited. The callers claimed that they were exempt from the state law and were permitted to contact consumers. Consumers also complained that the callers misrepresented who they were and on whose behalf they were calling.
Under the terms of the consent agreement, the defendant is:
†Permanently enjoined from violating the Consumer
Protection Law and Telemarketer Registration Act;
†Barred from conducting telemarketing campaigns in the Commonwealth without purchasing Pennsylvania's "no-call" list;
†Required to pay $19,000 in civil penalties; and
†Required to pay $1,000 in the Commonwealth's investigation costs.
Under the Telemarketer Registration Act, consumers who filed formal complaints with Pappert's Office will share 10 percent of the civil penalty obtained. In this case, the 19 consumers will receive a maximum payment of $100 each.
Blair County President Judge Thomas G. Peoples Jr. entered an order approving the consent agreement. The case was handled by Senior Deputy Attorney General E. Barry Creany of Pappert's Bureau of Consumer Protection Office in Ebensburg.
For more information, visit www.attorneygeneral.gov.