As part of the deal, the real estate franchisor also agreed to create a task force to “enhance compliance” with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

New markets require new approaches and tactics. Experts and industry leaders take the stage at Inman Connect New York in January to help navigate the market shift — and prepare for the next one. Meet the moment and join us. Register here.

Keller Williams Realty has agreed to pay $40 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging the major real estate franchisor’s agents made unsolicited, pre-recorded calls to consumers without their consent, including calls to consumers on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Such calls violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which was signed into law in 1991 to protect consumers from unsolicited telemarketing calls. Although calling expired listings is a time-honored way to drum up business in real estate, being on the receiving end of such cold calls is not always welcome. Exasperated homeowners sometimes even get local authorities involved to stop the seemingly endless stream of agent calls.

Many lawsuits have been filed against brokerages and franchisors under the TCPA. In this particular case, plaintiff Beverly DeShay filed a class action complaint against Keller Williams in June 2022 via the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit in and for Indian-River County, Florida. Attorneys Stefan Coleman and Avi R. Kaufman of Miami filed the case. Coleman and Kaufman have also filed other TCPA cases against Keller Williams and against other real estate companies, including Anywhere (formerly, Realogy).

The settlement agreement in the DeShay case also resolves claims in the other TCPA cases filed against Keller Williams by Kaufman and Coleman. As part of the settlement, Keller Williams denies any wrongdoing or liability.

The settlement, which must still receive final approval from the court, notes that about 2 million people may be eligible to receive payments of up to $20 each. That amount is a far cry from the $500 per violation and $1,500 per willful or knowing violation stipulated under the TCPA.

Those wishing to submit a claim must do so by March 7, according to a website set up to handle settlement claims. In order to be eligible, potential claimants must have, between May 2, 2014 and December 12, 2022, and without their consent:

  • received two or more calls or text messages “made by or on behalf of Keller Williams or any Keller Williams-affiliated franchisees, market centers, Realtors, agents, or vendors and that appeared on the National Do Not Call Registry for at least 31 days and/or that appeared on any internal do not call list of Keller Williams” or its affiliates; and/or
  • received one or more calls or text messages from Keller Williams or its affiliates “using an artificial or prerecorded voice and/or a cloud based dialing platform;” and/or
  • received one or more calls made using an auto-dialing system from Keller Williams or its affiliates

The agreement stipulates that the attorneys’ fees cannot exceed $10 million and that those fees will be paid from the $40 million settlement sum.

In addition to the maximum $40 million settlement sum Keller Williams has agreed to pay, the franchisor also agreed to create a TCPA task force to “enhance compliance” with the law; to make the existing TCPA and Do Not Call resource page on the franchisor’s intranet, KW Connect, more visible to its franchisees and affiliated agents; and to provide additional materials to its franchisees about TCPA and DNC compliance that they can use with their affiliated agents.

Keller Williams declined to comment for this story.

“As a matter of policy, we typically don’t comment on settled and pending litigation,” KW spokesperson Darryl Frost told Inman in an emailed statement.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

Like me on Facebook | Follow me on Twitter

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription
×