BASKING RIDGE, NJ — Verizon Wireless said today it has filed a lawsuit to stop unknown telemarketers from calling its customers and employees with an offer of an extended car warranty. The lawsuit, filed in New Jersey Superior Court, alleges the telemarketers illegally used an autodialer to reach Verizon Wireless customers and used "spoofing" techniques to mask the origin of the calls.
The lawsuit alleges that Caller ID showed calls were made from a variety of numbers with 281, 614, 801, and 562 area codes. But, when Verizon Wireless customers and employees attempted to call the numbers found on Caller ID, they generally heard a fast busy signal, indicating a non-working number.
"Telemarketers are using increasingly sophisticated methods, such as illegal autodialing, to harass our customers," said Steven E. Zipperstein, vice president and general counsel of Verizon Wireless. "Whatever the method, these unlawful telemarketing calls are an annoyance to our customers and invade their privacy, and we will continue to use every weapon in our legal arsenal to stop this activity and protect our customers."
In the lawsuit, Verizon Wireless says that, beginning in January 2008, more than 2 million of its customers and employees received calls on their wireless telephones with a pre-recorded voice message indicating that the recipient's car warranty was about to expire, and encouraging them to press "1" for more information. When a recipient presses "1", he or she is connected to a person who asks for the make and model of the car. However, if the recipient asks for information about the company offering the policy, the representative simply hangs up and ends the call.
The lawsuit alleges violations of the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which makes it illegal to use an autodialer to make calls to wireless phones, as well as state fraud and privacy laws. By filing the lawsuit, Verizon Wireless will be able to use the discovery process to help identify the currently unknown telemarketers, and to get them to halt their practices.
Verizon Wireless' record of protecting customer privacy puts the company at the forefront of the U.S. wireless industry. Over the past several years, Verizon Wireless has won permanent injunctions against individuals and companies that have engaged in illegal telemarketing and text message spamming to Verizon Wireless customers, and against those who have attempted to obtain information about Verizon Wireless customers to sell to third parties.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 65.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 69,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: 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.