Americana Holdings, LLC, which operates Berkshire Hathaway franchise locations in Arizona, Nevada and California, is facing a proposed class action lawsuit over allegations that the company encouraged real estate agents to place illegal, unsolicited marketing calls.
According to the case, the defendant recommends that agents use lead generation services such as Landvoice, RedX and Mojo to place unsolicited cold calls to the owners of expired property listings on the multiple listing service (MLS). The defendant goes so far as to offer training courses on how to effectively utilize such lead generation services and even provides scripts for agents to use on calls, the complaint alleges.
The suit explains that each of the aforementioned lead generation services allows agents to connect to the owners of expired MLS listings using an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) that places calls to leads “at a rate of 80 to 300 per hour” and leaves a pre-recorded message if the calls are not answered. The case contends, however, that the companies often do not obtain recipients’ consent before placing the phone calls.
Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), companies are required to obtain express written consent from recipients before making telemarketing calls. The case claims Americana and its agents overstepped this statute by failing to obtain the called parties’ permission before using an ATDS to place calls regarding their properties.
With regard to the lead plaintiff, the case claims the man listed a property for sale on the multiple listing service (MLS) but terminated his contract with his realtor and removed the listing in early September 2019. One day after he deactivated his listing, the plaintiff allegedly received a text in which a Berkshire Hathaway Valiant Fine Properties realtor solicited him to relist his property with the agent. Later that same day, the case explains, the plaintiff received a call from another Berkshire Hathaway agent regarding the same listing. The plaintiff claims that both these messages were sent by way of an ATDS and that he never provided consent for the defendant to call or text him through its agents.