For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: June 12, 2007
Carpet Cleaning Solicitor Pays $10,000, Stops Idaho Calls
(Boise) – A telephone solicitor who used autodialers to market carpet cleaning services to Nampa consumers has paid a $10,000 civil penalty and stopped soliciting Idaho residents, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. John Belcastro, who operates Authorized Cleaning Services, agreed to those terms as part of a settlement agreement with the Attorney General’s Office.
Between January and March, the Attorney General received more than 75 complaints from consumers who received unwanted calls from a carpet cleaning service despite the fact that their telephone numbers were registered on the national Do Not Call Registry. When consumers answered the calls, they heard a recorded message informing them about local carpet cleaning specials and telling them to call a toll–free number if they wanted to schedule an appointment. Some consumers received multiple calls a day even after calling the toll–free number to complain.
“The large number of complaints my office received over such a short period indicated how aggravating these calls were to consumers,” Attorney General Wasden said. “Idahoans register their numbers on the Do Not Call list to avoid exactly these types of telephone solicitations.”
The Consumer Protection Division’s three-month investigation into the source of these calls led it to Authorized Cleaning Services and Mr. Belcastro, who contracted to telemarket on behalf of a Caldwell cleaning service. However, Mr. Belcastro was not registered to telemarket in Idaho, as required by Idaho law. In addition, he disregarded Idaho’s Do Not Call Law.
Although Mr. Belcastro admitted no liability, as a part of the settlement, he was required to pay the Attorney General $10,000 in civil penalties and attorney fees. He also agreed to cease telemarketing in Idaho unless he registers to do so with the Attorney General’s Office and complies with Idaho’s Telephone Solicitations Act. Additionally, if he resumes doing business in Idaho, Mr. Belcastro must register his business with the Secretary of State’s Office and respond promptly to any future consumer complaints.
The civil penalty in this case is the second largest imposed for violation of Idaho’s Do Not Call Law. Since the law took effect in 2000, the Attorney General’s Office has completed 24 enforcement actions, resulting in civil penalties totaling $35,000 and the recovery of an additional $57,000 in attorney fees and investigatory costs.
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