Security firms pay fines over Do Not Call list

Monday, April 1, 2002

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.-Two security companies that have telemarketing operations in the state paid settlements to regulators for violating Tennessee's Do Not Call list.

The largest fine to date in Tennessee, about $26,000, was collected from SecureOne, a dealer with at least seven locations in Tennessee, Alabama and Indiana, said Eddie Roberson, chief of consumer services of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority. Consumers logged 19 different complaints with regulators regarding that company, Roberson said. The complaints were settled on Sept. 11, 2001.

The company has been very cooperative in the process, he said. As of press time, the TRA had not received any additional complaints against SecureOne, he said. Officials at SecureOne could not be reached for comment.

Another security company, Cambridge Security, based in Jackson, paid the state $5,000 to settle three consumer complaints against the company. That agreement was reached in November of last year.

Telemarketers are required to register with state regulators in order to comply with the Do Not Call program, a list of residents who've requested that telemarketers be prohibited from calling their home. Once the telemarketing companies pay the $500 per year fee, an updated version of the list is emailed to them every month, Roberson said. Companies that are non-profit or who have an existing relationship with the customer are exempt from the Do Not Call list. Numbers remain on the list for five years.

"Since we began enforcing the program in August of 2000, we have 672,000 homes registered," Roberson said. At press time, the state had about 530 active solicitors registered with the TRA. The state had collected about $73,000 in fines in 11 separate arrangements
State law allows for up to $2,000 in penalties for not being a registered solicitation company.

So far, security companies have been fined in Missouri, Alabama and Tennessee for similar violations. Tennessee is one of about 20 states that maintain a consumer Do Not Call list, Roberson said.