A federal court has entered an order banning three Westlake Village telemarketing companies from future phone sales activity, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
In March prosecutors filed a lawsuit alleging that KFJ Marketing, Sunlight Solar Leads and Go Green Education initiated at least 1.3 million telemarketing calls that violated the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule. The rule prohibits misrepresentations, requires certain disclosures from the caller and limits the hours of calls.
In the case of the three Westlake Village companies, the calls were intended to convince consumers to schedule appointments for solar panel installations, and began with a prerecorded message about a “pending 14 percent rate increase” in their electricity bills.
The lawsuit was prompted by complaints to the Federal Trade Commission about the defendants allegedly calling numbers on the National Do-Not-Call Registry, making unlawful robocalls, displaying false information on caller IDs and ignoring consumer requests not to receive future calls.
The order, filed by Judge Michael Fitzgerald in the Central District of California, permanently bans the three corporations and Francisco Salvat, the owner of KFJ and Sunlight Solar and chief executive of Go Green, from engaging in telemarketing activity. Another executive, Julio Salvat, will be restricted in his ability to make robocalls. The order also requires the defendants pay a $1.4 million civil penalty, all of which but $155,000 will be suspended based on defendants’ inability to pay.
The case was investigated by the Department of Justice’s consumer protection branch and the Federal Trade Commission.