Verizon Wireless has won permanent injunctions to stop two telemarketing firms from making illegal sales calls to cell phone customers. The lawsuits, based on information from Verizon Wireless customers and company employees who received the calls, were the first of their kind initiated by a U.S. wireless carrier to protect wireless customers from illegal telemarketing calls.
Both firms, Intelligent Alternatives of San Diego, CA, and Resort Marketing Trends of Coral Springs, FL, have been permanently barred from making calls to Verizon Wireless customers by using auto-dialers and recorded messages. Federal consumer protection law prohibits use of auto-dialers or pre-recorded messages in calls to cell phones.
Intelligent Alternatives will also pay $20,000 in damages. Verizon Wireless will donate the entire amount to the Family Justice Center Foundation in San Diego on behalf of its HopeLine program. Verizon Wireless, a recognized corporate leader in the fight against domestic violence, works to prevent domestic violence and raise awareness of the issue nationwide through the company's HopeLine program.
The injunctions were entered as the result of court-approved settlements between Verizon Wireless and the telemarketing firms. An agreement was reached with Resort Marketing Trends on September 26 and entered in Somerset County, NJ, State Superior Court by Judge Robert B. Reed. A separate agreement was reached with Intelligent Alternatives on October 27, and the injunction was entered in State Superior Court on November 29 in Sacramento, CA, by Judge Shelleyanne W. L. Chang. The suits were brought in states where many of the calls were made. Verizon Wireless brought its lawsuits on August 31 after the telemarketing firms apparently made hundreds of thousands of the illegal calls this past summer.
The company's record of protecting customer privacy puts Verizon Wireless at the forefront of the U.S. wireless industry. This summer, Verizon Wireless secured a court order to halt a Tennessee-based company's illegal practice of obtaining and selling confidential customer telephone records. Last month, Verizon Wireless also obtained an immediate injunction against a Florida-based private investigative agency and its affiliates to stop their attempts to fraudulently gather confidential customer information, and filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against another Florida company to stop it from sending tens of thousands of unsolicited text messages, also known as "wireless spam," to Verizon Wireless customers.
About Telemarketing And Cell Phones
Federal Communications Commission regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers. Automated dialers are standard in the industry; so most telemarketers are barred from calling consumers on their cell phones without their consent. Customers can file a complaint by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY, or mail. The complaint should include:
* Name, address and telephone number where the complainant can be reached during the business day;
* The telephone number involved with the complaint; and
* As much specific information as possible, including the identity of the telemarketer or company contacting you, the date on which you placed your number on the national Do Not Call registry or made a company-specific do-not-call request, and the dates of any subsequent telemarketing calls from that telemarketer or company.
If mailing a complaint, send it to: Federal Communications Commission; Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau; Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division; 445 12th Street, SW; Washington D.C. 20554.
Customers who want to add their cell phone number to the national "Do Not Call" registry may do so by calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the telephone number they wish to register, or online at www.donotcall.gov. Registrations become effective within 31 days of signing up and are active for five years. There is no cut-off date or deadline for registrations. Business-to-business calls are not covered under the registry.