Many real estate agents familiar with Reply.com, might find the bellow piece of information rather interesting. The information is posted on BBB.org website on Reply.com profile. I will however put it here in it’s entirety. I don’t believe that $70,000 in fines will put a dent into Reply.com’s finances. After all Reply.com did file for IPO and once Reply.com’s stock starts trading there will be rivers of milk and honey flowing in San Ramon and surroundings…. Or something to that effect, unless the “IPO spoof” was really a “for sale” sign.
Enough said, here is what apparently took place in the beginning of this year:
On January 21, 2011 the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office entered into a Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction with Reply! Inc., Case no.: C11-00208.
Without any admission of wrong doing the injunction applies to Reply! Inc., its agents, employees, officers, managers, representatives, successors, and assigns when acting on behalf of defendant.
Reply! Inc. is hereby permanently enjoined and restrained from directly or indirectly doing the following during telephone solicitations of real estate agents for the sale of real estate leads (Leads).
a. Representing that use of Leads may result in an average or anticipated close rate, unless Defendant is able to produce data based on the experience of customers who have purchased Leads from Defendant supporting any such representation.
b. Representing that Defendant’s lead service can be cancelled at any time unless defendant also discloses: that written notice of cancellation is required; the period of time that will elapse before the cancellation is effective; and that, until the effective date of the cancellation, the real estate agent will continue to receive leads and be billed for such leads.
c. Representing that real estate agent will not be charged for invalid Leads or will receive a credit for invalid leads, unless Defendant also discloses the time limit within the request for credit must be received;
d. Representing that credit will be given for invalid Leads, unless Defendant also discloses that no credit will be given as long as the name and telephone number provided with the Lead are valid, even if the Lead does not respond to the real estate agent or does not want to be contact.
e. Representing that Leads are “valid”, “validated”, “good”, “screened”, “qualified”, “verified”, or words to that effect, unless Defendant discloses: (1) the validation, screening, qualification, verification or other such process is automated and as a result some Leads will have invalid names or telephone numbers, (2) even for such invalid Leads, the real estate agent must make a request for credit within the time limit for such request and in accordance with company policy, (3) Leads are not screened for credit worthiness; and (4) some Leads may not respond to the real estate agent or want to buy or sell real estate.
f. Representing that any Lead will actually be interested in buying or selling real estate, unless defendant also discloses that Leads are generated through Defendant’s websites and affiliated websites, and consist of people who are looking online for real estate information.
g. Representing that any leads consist of people who are seeking a realtor or expect to or who expect to be contacted by a realtor, unless Defendant also discloses that: a Lead is created when a consumer completes and submits a form on the Internet requesting real estate information; including home valuations, and provides a phone number at which they can be reached; and (2) Defendant does not guarantee that the consumer will actually be interested in buying or selling real estate or that the agent will make contact with the Lead.
h. Representing that the real estate agent may accept or reject Leads.
Reply! Inc. shall pay civil penalties in the amount of $40,000.00 and investigative cost related to this matter in the amount of $30,000.