Yet another company thinks it’s smart to market themselves by calls to consumer cell phones. The complaint for this class action claims Aspen Media, which does business process outsourcing and marketing and research, violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) with prerecorded messages to cell phones.
The class for this action is all persons in the US who received a call from Aspen or its agents on their cell phones, placed with an automatic dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice, between February 25, 2015 and the date of final approval in this case.
In the 1980s and 1990s, advances in telecommunications equipment enabled advertisers to make full use of the telephone as a marketing outlet. Automatic dialing systems and prerecorded voices took much of the labor out of telemarketing. However, most consumers hated these calls and many complained to the federal government.
In response, Congress passed the TCPA in 1991. It has been amended at least twice since then.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which writes the rules and regulations for the TCPA, recognized the additional burden of telemarketing calls to cell phones. Since most cell phone owners pay for incoming as well as outgoing calls, telemarketing costs cell phone owners money.
The TCPA now forbids telemarketers from calling consumer cell phones, using automatic dialing systems or artificial or prerecorded voices, for anything but emergency purposes, unless they have the consumers’ prior express written consent.
In this case, plaintiff Steve Rive received two calls from Aspen Media, on September 19 and November 5, 2018. Both were directed to his cell phone. The complaint alleges that both were sent via automatic dialing systems and/or featured prerecorded voice messages.
The calls were not placed for emergency purposes, the complaint says, and Rive had never given his express written consent to receive such messages.
The complaint cites the website of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which it says has given Aspen an F rating and a pattern of complaints: “Specifically, these complaints allege customer service issues regarding harassment and unsolicited calls from the business, even after consumer request to be removed from the call list.” BBB says it contacted Aspen about the complaints but Aspen did not respond.
The complaint quotes from a number of BBB postings, including some claiming that the company calls two to three times a day and others claiming that when they asked the company to stop calling, the representative simply hung up on them. Still others complained that they to be taken off the listed, using one or more of a variety of methods, but the company continues to call.
The complaint alleges both negligent and willful violations of the TCPA.