Former MV Realty employee explains how company used ‘deceptive’ robocalls to target homeowners

Jan 26, 2023, 5:45 AM
(Photo from KIRO 7)...
(Photo from KIRO 7)
(Photo from KIRO 7)

A former employee with MV Realty shared how she made thousands of robocalls for the company, and now she’s blowing the whistle.

“We were required to make at least 450 outbound calls a day,” the whistleblower said.

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Now, the FCC has ordered all telecommunication companies to apparently block MV Realty’s illegal robocalls after making “substantial amounts of apparently unlawful telephone solicitation calls to phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.”

“It was deceptive from the start,” the whistleblower said. “It’s just something that we were told to do.”

James Heath of Bellingham told Jesse Jones he received one of those calls from MV Realty.

MV Realty offers 40-year exclusive listing agreements, and if Heath wanted to sell his home at some point over the next four decades, he would have to use an MV Realty agent or pay a 3% penalty based on the value of his home — a penalty of $22,600.

Heath, a former Vietnam veteran, received a little more than $2,200 for signing up.

Raven Lampkin, Heath’s daughter, thought it sounded like a scam, and she didn’t know if it was legal.

Lampkin was able to cancel her father’s contract within the company’s three-day rescission window.

Since then, MV Realty has been under investigation by the Attorney Generals in three states — Florida, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts — for deceptive and unfair business practices.

The company is also under investigation in Georgia and North Carolina for its business practices.

To make those robocalls, the whistleblowers said she used a dialing software called PhoneBurner.

According to the FCC, PhoneBurner’s software enables its customers to make robocalls that include false or misleading caller ID.

In an MV Realty training video obtained by KIRO 7, employees are directed on how to use PhoneBurner: “And for the caller ID option, you’re going to want to make sure that you choose local ID. It is very important that you choose local ID for the phone to ensure the best contact rate…”

The whistleblower said some of these calls raised questions from recipients, and she’s not surprised by the FCC’s actions.

“They would ask. ‘Well, where are you calling from?’” the whistleblower said. “It could be somebody that’s over in Eastern Washington, and you say, ‘Oh, I’m in the Seattle area.’ And they’re like, ‘Well, your area code says this.’”

MV Realty did not respond to our questions about the FCC’s actions against the company but did say in a previous statement, “MV Realty has always been committed to transparency in all of our business transactions, and we are confident that any inquiry will confirm that our team has operated in full compliance with the law.”

Follow this link to read additional stories from KIRO

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Former MV Realty employee explains how company used ‘deceptive’ robocalls to target homeowners