ADT reaches $275,000 settlement in Missouri lawsuit

Thursday, February 20, 2003

February 20, 2003

ST. LOUIS - More than 20 of ADT’s authorized dealers in Missouri have agreed to pay $275,000 in a settlement of claims for violating the states anti-telemarketing law.

This week the St. Louis City Circuit Court approved the consent agreement that settles the case filed by Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon in August 2001.

As part of the agreement, the dealers agreed to make a $275,000 donation to the Merchandising Practices Revolving Fund, the fund that pays for no-call enforcement.

Scott Holste, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, said that while the agreement calls the $275,000 a donation, it should not be viewed as voluntary.

"I think in reality it is a penalty for having these calls made to people on the no-call list," said Holste.

In a written statement, Missouri’s Attorney General said he filed the lawsuit after his office received more than 200 complaints from residents who received telemarketing calls from ADT and its authorized dealers after they asked to be placed on the state’s do-not-call list.

"When people sign up for the no call list, they are saying don’t call us in no uncertain terms," said Nixon. “This settlement sends the message that telemarketers who violate our no call law can pay huge consequences.

An ADT spokesperson declined to comment on the settlement beyond a one-page statement released by the company.

"ADT Security Services Inc. has established that it did not violate the Missouri statute and admits to no wrongdoing in the consent judgment," said the written statement, which was not attributed. “In a cooperative effort to conclude the ongoing litigation amicably, twenty five independent ADT Authorized Dealers did agree voluntarily to enter into the consent judgment and to admit to violations of the No-Call law."

The ADT statement also said as soon as the company became aware of the telemarketing complaints it took corrective action, including issuing a letter to all local dealers informing them that they were required to comply with the no-call law.

The Missouri no-call list has been in effect since the law was passed in July 2001. The $275,000 settlement is the largest ever under the new law, eclipsing the $75,000 settlement reached in August 2001 with the Florida company which ran the Miss Cleo psychic hotline.