Keller Williams to pay $40 million in lawsuit over robocalls
A class action lawsuit alleged KW contacted consumers multiple times with automated marketing calls and text messages.
- Keller Williams agreed to a settlement without admitting to wrongdoing.
- Impacted consumers were individuals whose phone numbers were on a national “do not call” registry, according to court documents.
- Class members may receive up to $20 per validated claim.
Keller Williams will pay $40 million in claims to consumers as part of a class action settlement in a case involving unsolicited automated marketing calls and texts to consumers.
The settlement agreement will benefit consumers who received two or more contacts from Keller Williams. The class of consumers are individuals who allegedly were contacted by the real estate company, even though their phone numbers were on a national "do not call" registry, according to court documents.
Individuals may receive up to $20 per phone number for a validated claim, according to court documents, and must submit a valid claim form by March 7. A final approval hearing for the settlement is scheduled for March 31.
Reached Friday, attorney Todd P. Stelter of Hinshaw & Culbertson, which represented Keller Williams, declined to comment.
Keller Williams agreed to settling the complaint without admitting to wrongdoing.
"Keller Williams Realty denies it did anything wrong and has defended itself. The Court has not decided who is right. Both sides have agreed to settle the dispute to avoid burdensome and costly litigation," according to a court-designated website.
The real estate company also agreed to set up a task force to improve compliance with federal law as it relates to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the national do not call registry. The task force will focus on making it easier and more accessible for KW franchisees to access compliance education and resource materials.
In the lawsuit, plaintiff Beverly DeShay accused Keller Williams of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by allegedly contacting consumers without their permission, even though their phone numbers were on the registry.
DeShay had asked the court to stop Keller Williams from "directing realtors to violate and/or ratifying its realtors' violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by making unsolicited, pre-recorded calls to consumers without their consent including calls to consumers registered on the National Do Not Call registry."
In DeShay's complaint, she alleged that Keller Williams made "multiple unwanted calls" to her personal cell phone number, which is on the national "do not call" registry.
"Plaintiff Deshay did not give any prior express consent to receive these calls from defendant Keller Williams," according to the complaint, which was heard in 19th Judicial Circuit Court in Indian River County, Florida.
Unauthorized contacts allegedly included pre-recorded calls from Keller Williams agents asking if she wanted to sell her home. DeShay claimed she was harmed "in the form of annoyance, nuisance and invasion of privacy."
Telemarketing calls are the No. 1 complaint that consumers file with the Federal Communications Commission, according to court documents.
The introduction to the complaint states: "As the Supreme Court recently explained, 'Americans passionately disagree about many things. But they are largely united in their disdain for robocalls.'" The lawsuit notes that the federal government received 3.7 million complaints in 2019 about automated telemarketing calls.