f

Florida real estate brokerage faces federal lawsuit over alleged spamming

La Rosa Realty allegedly spammed Alexander de la Cruz and thousands of others with text message promising 33% commissions
By Francisco Alvarado |
Research by Mary Didich
August 06, 2019 11:30AM

Joseph La Rosa

Joseph La Rosa

Real estate agents across the Sunshine State may have to think twice before hitting send on a mass text.

La Rosa Realty, a Celebration-based brokerage with four offices in South Florida, was sued in Miami federal court for allegedly spamming Aventura real estate agent Alexander de la Cruz with an offer to make commissions of 33 percent.

In March, separate federal lawsuits were filed against Coldwell Banker and Naples-based Marzucco Real Estate alleging similar instances of unsolicited spamming via text messaging that run afoul of federal consumer protection laws.

According to de la Cruz’s July 31 complaint, La Rosa Realty violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by using an automated dialing system to send him a telemarketing text message without his prior consent. Like the two other lawsuits, de la Cruz is seeking class action status for his complaint, alleging that thousands of other unidentified people received the same text.

De la Cruz and his attorney Garret Berg declined comment. La Rosa Realty founder Joseph La Rosa did not respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.

De la Cruz alleges that on or about June 1, La Rosa Realty sent a text to his cellphone that said, “Dear Colleague, expand your market to Florida: Orlando & surrounding. Get 33% REFERRAL COMMISSION.” According to the lawsuit, the impersonal and generic nature of the text demonstrates La Rosa Realty utilized an automated system to transmit the message. And the text originated from a telephone number de la Cruz believes is owned and operated by the Central Florida brokerage, the lawsuit states.

“The systems utilized by the defendant have the capacity to store telephone numbers using a random or sequential generator, and to dial such numbers from a list without human intervention,” the suit states. “Upon information and belief, defendant has placed automated and/or prerecorded calls to cellular telephone numbers belonging to thousands of consumers throughout the United States without their prior express consent.”

Two months ago, Steven Grossberg alleged in his lawsuit against Coldwell Banker that he received a flood of unwanted text messages advertising the company’s listings. In the other lawsuit, Christian LaRosa accused a Marzucco agent of sending him texts asking for his email address and offering to “get your home sold within 60 days!”

According to the West Palm Beach online federal court docket, Grossberg’s lawsuit has been stayed pending a Federal Communications Commission revision of what defines an automated telephone dialing system. Meanwhile, in other case, Marzucco and LaRosa entered into a confidential settlement on July 31.