No good comes from violating no call law

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The state’s Attorney General filed a civil lawsuit against the owner of a Pennsylvania security company for violating the state’s “no call” registry and falsely claiming an affiliation with General Electric and local police departments.

Kenneth Broda, who operates two companies called Guardian Alert and Advanced Concepts of N.Y., Inc. from his home in Dingmans Ferry, Pa., is accused of violating the state’s Telemarketer Registration Act and engaging in unfair trade practices.

According to Barbara Petito, deputy press secretary for the Pennsylvania Attorney General, the AG’s office began receiving complaints about the calls in 2003. So far 17 consumers have filed complaints, but Petito expects that to increase.

“There are probably other folks out there who were contacted by this company, but who did not file a complaint,” said Petito. “Any additional complaints that come through will be folded into this litigation.”

The consumers reported to the state’s AG’s office that telemarketers told them they were chosen to receive a free home security system and the deal included two free airline tickets. Consumers also said they received the telemarketing calls even though they registered with the state’s “no call” registry.

Petito said Broda’s companies failed to buy the state’s “no call” registry. Neither business name is registered with the state, and they failed to register as a telemarketer at least 30 days prior to engaging in telemarketing activities and properly disclose the company name and the nature of the call.

Broda faces civil penalties of $1,000 per violation and $3,000 for each violation that involves a consumer 60 years old or older.

Broda did not return phone calls to Security Systems News by press time.

Steve Craig, marketing communications director with GE Security, said the company has encountered other instances where individuals have falsely affiliated themselves with the company.

“We have received complaints over the last year and made every effort possible to catch the perpetrators and ensure that they are not misrepresenting themselves as GE,” Craig said.

In an effort to combat the problem, the company developed telemarketing guidelines to protect consumers from thinking a GE dealer or a dealer using GE products is an actual GE employee.