Attorney General Sues Columbus Mortgage Company for Telemarketing and Direct Marketing Violations

MADISON, WI – March 30, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today filed a lawsuit against First American Funding Company, LLC of N4365 State Highway 73, Columbus, WI for violations of the state’s No-Call and Direct Marketing laws. Michael S. Eisenga is listed in the complaint as the mortgage company’s owner and operator.

According to Van Hollen’s lawsuit, more than 60 consumers filed complaints with the Department of Trade, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (DATCP) regarding the mortgage company’s telemarketing practices. A subsequent investigation by DATCP revealed the company not only engaged in misleading and deceptive practices in the course of telemarketing its products to Wisconsin residents, but made hundreds of thousands of calls to Wisconsin residents registered on the state’s No-Call list in 2010.

“This company used extremely misleading language in their telemarketing practices,” Van Hollen said. “They sometimes even used language that implied they were calling on behalf of the consumer’s home mortgage. When consumers called back, concerned there was a problem with their loan, they were surprised and frustrated to learn it was, in fact, a sales pitch. Such practices, along with the high volume of calls warranted this action.”

Today’s lawsuit, filed with a Dane County Circuit Court, charges First American Funding with violations of the state’s No-Call and Direct Marketing laws. The lawsuit alleges the defendant called residents registered on the state’s No-Call list; engaged in deceptive and misleading practices; and engaged in prohibited telemarketing practices by repeatedly causing residents’ phone lines to ring and calling residents who previously asked the company cease making calls. The lawsuit also alleges First American Funding made calls from as many as 6 telephone lines that were not registered with the state as required under law.

Van Hollen’s lawsuit asks the court to enjoin future violations by First American Funding. The lawsuit also seeks civil forfeitures in the amount of $100 for each No-Call violation and civil forfeitures ranging from $100-$10,000 for each Direct Marketing violation. In addition, Van Hollen seeks to recover the costs of investigation and prosecution. The state previously obtained a judgment against the company for telemarketing violations in 2006 (Case No. 05-CX-04).

Consumers who believe they may have been harmed by First American Funding Company, LLC are encouraged to contact DATCP at 608-224-4976 or 800-422-7128, or online at Consumer Complaint DATCP.

Assistant Attorney General Nelle Rohlich is handling the case for Van Hollen’s Consumer Protection Division. The matter was investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Trade, Agriculture and Consumer Protection.

A copy of the complaint is available at: http://www.doj.state.wi.us/news/files/First_American_Funding_Summons.pdf

News Contact:
William A. Cosh
(608)266-1221

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