Verizon Wireless said today it has filed a lawsuit to stop a
Utah-based telemarketing company from calling its customers and
employees to advertise the upcoming movie, "The Velveteen Rabbit."
lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Trenton, alleges
Feature Films for Families, Inc. illegally used an autodialer to call
Verizon Wireless customers on behalf of a company called Family 1
Films, based in Los Angeles.
The lawsuit states that over 10 days in early February, nearly
500,000 calls were made to Verizon Wireless customers and employees
from the telephone number 917-210-4609. When customers answered these
calls to their wireless phones they heard either a prerecorded voice
message or an individual reading a script promoting the anticipated
release of the film.
The trailer for the film says, "Sometimes in order to find what you want, you just have to imagine it."
Comment from Wireless and Mobile News: "Maybe they were imagining wireless customers who liked getting spam calls."
Many of these calls came in rapid succession, indicating the use of
an autodialer to place the calls. For example, between 4 p.m. and 5
p.m. on Feb. 13, nearly 11,000 calls with the same caller ID were made,
an average of one call every 0.32 seconds, and nearly 10,000 calls were
made from a number with the same caller ID between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. on
Feb. 6, an average of one call every 0.36 seconds.
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.
Verizon Wireless has also filed a motion seeking a preliminary
injunction to stop the defendants from making these calls.
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.