Two South Florida brokerages have been sued over their use of an automated text service to market their properties, which the lawsuits say is a violation of federal antispam laws. The suits are both seeking class action status. If granted, the proposed allegations could then potentially cover anyone in the U.S. who has received an automatic text message from the brokerages in the last four years.
Steve Grossberg filed a lawsuit in West Palm Beach District Court against a Coldwell Banker brokerage in South Florida, alleging that he received unwanted text messages that advertised homes for sale. On the same day, Christian Larosa filed a lawsuit against Marzucco Real Estate, alleging similar misuse of text messaging for advertising.
The lawsuits were first reported by The Real Deal. Neither brokerage has responded publicly about the lawsuits.
Grossberg and Larosa both claim they were victims of an “automated telephone dialing system” that sent them and others “thousands” of unwanted text messages. In the lawsuits, they accuse the messages of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which provides consumer protections when it comes to text- and call-based solicitation.
Larosa says in his suit that he constantly received text messages asking for his email address and offering to “get your home sold within 60 days!” Grossberg says he received text messages about an “OPEN HOUSE” at a specific property. Both text messages were linked to the agents’ website or bio. Also, the phone number would change, but all appeared as local numbers, the plaintiffs say.
The technology allegedly used to send text messages to Grossberg was from Listings-to-Leads, according to the lawsuit. Scott Pierce, the founder of Listings-to-Leads, told The Real Deal that his technology does not spam other peoples’ phones. Pierce says that real estate professionals who use multiple tools together may be at risk, however. “A typical real estate agent will have five, six, seven programs,” Pierce told The Real Deal. He urged real estate professionals to check laws to make sure their combination of technology programs doesn’t violate antispam laws.