HouseCall Pro to pay $2.2M settlement for alleged illegal robodialing following lawsuit – The San Diego Union-Tribune


Housecall Pro, a San Diego tech startup best known for its fast growth over the past few years, is now on the line to pay $2.2 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the company was robodialing (and robotexting) people without consent.

Shortly following the settlement decision, Housecall Pro laid off 30 people of its 210-person staff.

The startup, whose actual business name is Codefied, makes an enterprise software product called Housecall Pro. The software helps plumbers, painters, and other independent service professionals manage their business.

The lawsuit, filed in March in federal court in the Eastern District of California, alleges that Housecall Pro violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by using an automatic phone dialing system to reach potential customers without their consent.

“A significant part of Housecall’s marketing involves cold calls to service professionals that have never had a relationship with Housecall or consented to being called by it,” the lawsuit’s original complaint reads.

The federal law requires businesses to have prior written consent before contacting consumers with telemarketing calls, texts or faxes.

Housecall Pro’s CEO Ian Heidt said the company denied any wrongdoing but settled the suit to “minimize distractions” at the company.

“We don’t believe we violated the law and we don’t use auto-dialers or make automated calls or robocalls to reach prospects, but we do use a variety of ways to reach folks including phone calls, emails and a host of marketing channels,” Heidt wrote in an email to the Union-Tribune on Wednesday.

Plaintiff Clifford Armstrong said he received two unsolicited, auto-dialed calls to his cellphone over the course of one year, according to the suit. Both times he informed the company that he was not interested in the product.

Housecall Pro agreed to resolve the claims against it by paying $2.2 million. The company did not admit any wrongdoing by settling the allegations against it.

Heidt, the son of a painter, founded Housecall in 2013 to help connect home service professionals like his dad with new clients and better tools for managing business. The company is known locally for its fast growth in recent years. Heidt said the company had expanded its headcount from 140 people to 210 in 2019.

But roughly 30 staffers lost their jobs shortly after the settlement agreement due to a company reorganization. Heidt said the layoffs were unrelated to the settlement.

“One of our core principles is to be transparent with our team,” Heidt wrote in an email. “In a recent company meeting, we did, in fact, share the update about the class action settlement at the same time as we announced a reorganization of our business. They are both important topics. In regards to the reorganization, it impacted less than 30 employees and was an independent business decision that reflects how we operate the company … As we shift priorities on growth opportunities, we decided to make headcount changes that align with our business strategy.”

Individuals who received one or more telemarketing calls or texts from Housecall Pro between March 28, 2015, and Oct. 22, 2019, can claim a portion of the settlement by filing a valid claim form by Jan. 20, 2020.





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