This lawsuit claims that CVS Pharmacy has systemically violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by placing repeated and unwanted robocalls to consumers, month after month, without consent and often despite do-not-call instructions to the contrary.
The TCPA is a strong consumer protection statute, administered by the FCC, that broadly prohibits businesses from sending automated robocalls to cellphone and telephone users without first having their consent. These widespread machine-driven calls “can be an intrusive invasion of privacy and, when an emergency or medical assistance telephone line is seized, a risk to public safety.”
One plaintiff in this lawsuit, Richard O’Hern, is a resident of Chicago, Illinois. His cellular service plan is limited to 1,000 voice minutes per month. O’Hern shops at Target’s pharmacy on a regular basis for prescription medications. He appreciated that Target did not call his cell phone number, which is one reason he chose Target in the first place. In December 2015, CVS purchased all of Target’s pharmacy operations, including the retail pharmacy location frequented by O’Hern. Through this purchase, CVS acquired contact information for former Target pharmacy customers, as well as any do-not-call instructions applicable to those former customers. Nonetheless, CVS began sending automated and prerecorded calls to O’Hern’s private cell phone number without his consent. Between April 4, 2016, and May 15, 2016, O’Hern received four calls from CVS. When he went, in person, to his local pharmacy, the employees told him he was already on the do-not-call list and that he would have to call corporate, but they were unable to provide him with the corporate customer service number. After this visit, the number of calls made to O’Hern doubled.
Some of the calls the CVS made to O’Hern exposed private health information. CVS was calling to say that his medication needed to be refilled. All they required to disclose the exact medication and dosage was his birth date. This information is not difficult to find online and could very well lead to the exposure of private information.
CVS makes robocalls incessantly, month after month, using computers with automatic-dialing capacity from numbers in stored lists. Many of these calls are “reminder” or “adherence” calls that encourage consumers to take their medications and to purchase refills at CVS instead of other pharmacies. Their original customers and the customers from Target did not give CVS consent to make these calls, and often the recipients are individuals with a limited number of voice-minutes per month. Further, these calls have the potential to expose private information.
Based on the facts of the case, plaintiffs in this class action lawsuit allege that CVS violated the TCPA by using an automatic-capable dialer to make unsolicited phone calls to consumers without consent.