Courts Say Cell Phone Spamming is a NO NO

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: December 1, 2015

Courts Say Cell Phone Spamming is a NO NO

This is a fair warning to anyone reading – this will likely make you angry because this is about telemarketing calls!

We feel your pain on this topic and the courts may put an end to the incessant calls we all receive – many times by no fault of our own…

Despite the fact that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) clearly states that unwanted texts and cell phone calls are illegal, violations of the act happen all the time and don’t we know it!

In some cases consumers have reported receiving dozens, even hundreds of calls on the same day… Have you experienced this much volume?

One of the best known and highly publicized class action lawsuit involved pizza empire, Papa John’s Pizza….

After calling in an order with the high-profile pizza service, customers were inundated with unwanted text messages, sometimes in the middle of the night, soliciting more orders!

The company settled consumer class-action suits for “spamming” for a whopping $16.5 million in 2013. Although the pizza company admitted no liability, it did place blame on the company it had outsourced.

Now the light is being shone on two new companies, timeshare companies – Great Destinations and Global Exchange Vacation Club.

Attorney John Bickford, from the R. Rex Parris Law Firm in Lancaster, California, is currently working on behalf of consumers overwhelmed with cell phone calls and text messages from these two vacation hubs.

“The law says the consumers must give express consent to receiving telemarketing calls or texts on their cell phones,” says Bickford. “Telemarketing companies collect a database of cell phone numbers often gathered through ‘preprinted forms.’”

Even worse is sometimes the cell phone numbers get into databases when consumers believe that the information is necessary for an online transaction to be completed…

Note that this is absolutely FALSE. Giving your cell phone number is never a necessary part of any transaction

In fact Bickford says “telling a consumer otherwise is illegal.”

And there are huge fines for telemarketers who violate the TCPA rules for that matter.

But like most of us we just want the unwanted text messages and calls to STOP…

And there are ways to make that happen.

According to Bickford,

“Most of us are familiar with the sound of an automated dialing system. The call comes in, you answer and there’s a pause or click sound. The telemarketer now knows someone has answered, your number comes up on his screen and he starts trying to sell you something.

If the calls are coming from an automated dialing system and the company cannot prove that you gave them express consent, or they obtained consent using a preprinted form or some other illegal method, the consumer has a cause to join a class-action suit.”

The incentives offered to the telemarketers keep the calls coming in at an alarming and incessant rate…

In fact, telemarketers are often paid by the volume of people they actually get to show up at a time share event…

Maybe someone should call them back and let them know that a few hundred phone calls to one person may not be the best marketing strategy…

As for the TCPA, it takes telemarketing abuse very seriously and mandates fines of $500 per illegal call!

An automatic dialer can make 8,000 calls a day, and over the course of a year, if even half those numbers are cell phone calls, the fines could add up to as much as $750 million.

“When these cases are certified by the courts as a class action, the defendants usually settle with the plaintiffs pretty quickly,” says Bickford. “The fines are just so huge they have no choice but to settle.”

That explains why Papa John’s paid $16.5 million for its “spamming activities.”

So if you’re getting unwanted texts or calls from a telemarketer and you don’t remember giving them permission to call you over and over again – you may just have a case on your hands!

*Thank you to Lawyers and Settlements for the original article and quotes by Mr. Bickford.




Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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