A 2016 statement of the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) notes, “Robocalls and telemarketing calls are currently the number one source of consumer complaints at the FCC.” This comment came twenty-five years after the passage of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The complaint for this class action alleges that HomeAdvisor, Inc. made unwanted calls to consumer cell phones in violation of that Act.
Also in 2016, a document from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) noted, “The FTC receives more complaints about unwanted calls than all other complaints combined.” Most people heartily dislike telemarketing—but many companies continue to do it, even when it’s illegal. And when it comes in to a consumer cell phone, it’s not just a nuisance but an expense as well.
The TCPA makes it unlawful for telemarketers to place non-emergency calls to consumer cell phones using automatic dialing systems and artificial or prerecorded voices unless the consumers have given their prior express written consent to receive such calls. The rules for the law even set forth how consent must be obtained. Yet the plague of unwanted calls, voicemails, and text messages continues.
On April 18, 2019, Newell received an automated telemarketing call from HomeAdvisor.
When Newell picked up the call, there was a long pause before a representative picked up. The complaint calls this “a telltale sign” of an automatic dialing system. Automatic dialing systems “dials thousands of numbers at once,” the complaint says, “and only transfers the call to a live agent once a human being is on the line. “ In doing this, “the telemarketing activity shifts the burden of wasted time to call recipients.”
In order to get information, Newell pretended to be interested in the sales pitch and asked the representative to send him an e-mail. The e-mail confirmed that the representative was a HomeAdvisor employee.
Newell then received three more automated telemarketing calls from the company. HomeAdvisor “spoofed” its number on caller ID so that it looked as if the calls were coming from a local number. The complaint says that this spoofing is further evidence of the use of an automated dialing system.
The class for this action is all persons in the US