Who is responsible when businesses do telemarketing in ways that violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)? This class action names as defendants parent company Allstate Corporation, captive insurance agent the Prossen Agency, LLC, and advertiser Chicago Insurance Agency, LLC, which does business as Connected Leads.
The class for this action is
The complaint says, “In 1991, Congress enacted the TCP to regulate the explosive growth of the telemarketing industry.” That growth was due at least in part to the easy availability of automated equipment and prerecorded messaging at the time.
On December 13, 2018, plaintiff Stewart Abramson received a telemarketing call on his cell phone. When he picked up, he heard a long pause and then a click, which the complaint says are signs of an automatic dialing system. The Caller ID for the call showed a number which later proved to be a nonworking number.
Abramson spoke to an individual who said he was “calling from Allstate Insurance” and offering him home and auto insurance. After that, he was transferred to the Prossen Agency and talked to someone who identified herself as Liz Gatto and said she was with Allstate. Gatto again offered to sell him insurance.
When Abramson asked where they’d gotten his name, she said they got their leads from Connected Leads, and provided a number for them.
Again, on May 3, 2019, Abramson received a telemarketing call, much like the first. Again, there was a pause and a click, and again the Caller ID showed a number which later proved to be not working. The agent who came on the line said she was Samantha Smith and that she was calling on behalf of Allstate.
She then transferred him to the Michael Walling Agency, where he spoke to someone who identified herself as Tracy Putnam. She too tried to sell him Allstate insurance.
The complaint quotes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). which makes the rules for the TCPA, as saying that its “rules generally establish that the party on whose behalf a solicitation is made bears ultimate responsibility for any violations.” Sellers are not allowed to avoid liability by hiring someone else to do the telemarketing, because this “would leave consumers in many cases without an effective remedy for telemarketing intrusions.”
The complaint therefore brings suit against all three levels of parties involved in the unlawful telemarketing calls.