December 2008 - Call Compliance News
The FCC has issued a notice of forfeiture against a toner company alleging that the company sent at least 219 unsolicited advertisements in violation of the TCPA. The FCC has issued a forfeiture in the amount of $1,040,500, or more than $4,000 per fax. The company had originally been cited in 2006 and, in addition to unsolicited faxes, sent at least 10 faxes to consumers who specifically requested not to receive further faxes from the company. The FCC applied an additional forfeiture amount for these 10 alleged violations.
The FCC has issued a Notice of Forfeiture against a lead company for allegedly sending at least 9 unsolicited faxes. This forfeiture was in the amount of $51,500. The advertisements involved mortgage financing, health and life insurance, credit and debit card services, shutters, t-shirts, and lead services.
A debt collector has agreed to pay $2.25 million to settle FTC charges of violation of the FDCPA and the FTC Act. Allegations include calls to consumers at their workplace when the employer prohibited such calls, as well as frequent harassing, threatening, or abusive calls. More than 1000 complaints against the company were filed with the FTC.
The FTC has settled a claim against a marketer of advanced credit cards. The settlement imposes a monetary judgment of more than $2.4 million, most of which has been suspended due to inability of the defendant to pay. The advance fee “credit card” could actually be used only to buy products from the defendant’s website or catalog.
The FTC has asked Congress to consider implementing standards for private entities’ use of social security numbers for identification purposes. Any entity maintaining a consumer account in any form would be required to adopt reasonable procedures to authenticate the identity of the account holder.
The FTC has settled allegations against a company marketing credit cards to subprime consumers for a refund of over $100,000,000. The FTC had alleged that a debt collection company owned by the card marketer engaged in deceptive conduct marketing credit cards as part of debt collection activities. The settlement agreement requires that future credit card solicitations prominently disclose fees and other restrictions affecting the initial credit and prohibit misrepresentations about the amount of available credit.
The FTC has entered into a settlement agreement with three telemarketers who allegedly defrauded elderly consumers. The sales presentations involved household products such as garbage bags and light bulbs. The settlements prohibit deceptive and misleading statements in violation of the TSR and a judgment in excess of $13,000,000. Most of the judgment amount was suspended based on the defendants’ inability to pay.
A bill has been pre-filed in the Arkansas House (HB 1019) which would require that all broadcast political advertisements (including telephone or e-mail) include the statement “paid for”, “sponsored by”, or similar language.
A Louisiana appeal court has approved a TCPA class with regard to receipt of unsolicited faxes. The court found the class to be proper even though some members of the class could eventually be found to have consented to the fax transmissions (and thus not have valid TCPA claims). Display South, Inc., et al. v. GH Imaging.
A Maryland court has ruled that a class could not be certified with regard to prerecorded TCPA calls. The court ruled that a class action was not the superior form to resolve the potential plaintiffs’ claims.
There has been some confusion regarding the new Mississippi rules for sharing the Mississippi do-not-call list. Mississippi now charges $500 per “contracted company”. Noreen Fielder, the administrator of the Mississippi do-not-call list, confirmed with me on the telephone that a “contracted company” for a telemarketer is a subcontractor “downstream” from the telemarketing company, not the telemarketing company’s clients. The telemarketing company would be required to pay an additional $500 for each subcontractor, but would not be required to pay an additional $500 for each client on whose behalf the telemarketer calls.
A bill has been pre-filed in the Missouri Senate (SB 43) which would amend Missouri’s Do-Not-Call law to create a do-not-cal list of person who do not wish to receive prerecorded solicitations.
A bill has been pre-filed in the Missouri Senate (SB 65) which would pose restrictions on prerecorded calls including political calls by adding these calls to the scope of the Missouri do-not-call list. Political solicitations are also required to disclose “this message is paid for by” and the proper identification of the sponsor. Finally, entities making radio advertisements that encourage listeners to contact political officials are required to register with the Missouri Ethics Commission and disclose the identity of the person paying for such advertisement.
An appeals court has dismissed a purported TCPA class action under New York law which provides that the statute authorizing a monetary recovery may not be maintained as a class action. Leyse v. Clear Channel Broadcasting.
A New York court has ruled that a defendant is not liable for attempted faxes sent to plaintiff’s cell phone. The court ruled that the TCPA was, therefore, inapplicable because plaintiff received neither unsolicited faxes nor illegal calls to his cell phone. Pollock v. Island Arbitration.
A North Carolina class action has been dismissed after the plaintiff settled with the defendant. The court ruled that because settlement of the individual plaintiff’s claim did not affect the rights of any other potential class member, the class could be dismissed. Thomas Cook Printing Company, Inc. v. Subtle Impressions, Inc.
A North Carolina judge has ordered a Florida telemarketer to cease placing calls to North Carolina consumers on the National Do-Not-Call List. North Carolina does not have its own do-not-call list and thus the attorney general was enforcing the national list in state court.
A bill has been pre-filed in the Texas Senate (SB 307) which would regulate political telephone solicitations requiring that they disclose “paid for by [name of company]” or similar language and barring misrepresentations regarding the sponsor of a call.