BEDMINSTER, NJ — Verizon Wireless, owner and operator of the nation's most reliable wireless network, is standing up once again for customer privacy rights in lawsuits charging two telemarketing companies with illegal solicitation of cell phone users.
In separate lawsuits, believed to be the first of their kind by a U.S. wireless provider against telemarketing firms, Verizon Wireless is seeking injunctions against the two companies, Intelligent Alternatives of San Diego, CA, and Resort Marketing Trends of Coral Springs, FL, that apparently made hundreds of thousands of calls to cell phone customers using pre-recorded messages and auto-dialers in violation of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act as well as state laws.
Based on information from customers and company employees who received telemarketing calls on their mobile phones, Verizon Wireless is seeking injunctions against the continued use of the illegal telemarketing practices and also is asking the courts to award monetary damages. Both suits were filed Wednesday: the Intelligent Alternatives suit was filed in state Superior Court in Sacramento, Calif.; the Resort Marketing suit was filed in state Superior Court in Somerville, NJ.
"These lawsuits serve notice once again to any company, organization or individual who seeks to infringe on our customers' privacy: the law says you can't do it, and we will help defend our customers against these sorts of illegal practices," said Steven Zipperstein, General Counsel and Vice President of Legal and External Affairs at Verizon Wireless.
The company's record of protecting customer privacy puts Verizon Wireless at the forefront of the U.S. wireless industry. In August 2004, the company won a permanent injunction against a group that was "spamming" Verizon Wireless customers with unsolicited text messages. The company also broke with the wireless industry in June 2004 by becoming the first to announce it would protect customer privacy by refusing to participate in a national wireless phone directory.
"Wireless users view cell phones as one of their last refuges from telemarketing intrusion and other unwanted, unsolicited calls and messages," said Mr. Zipperstein. "We will vigorously defend the strong wall of customer privacy that we have fortified over the years through our aggressive pro-consumer policies and actions."
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.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.