When Congress was considering what to do about telemarketing calls, it found that “the evidence presented to Congress indicates that automated or prerecorded calls are a nuisance and an invasion of privacy, regardless of the type of call.” The complaint for this class action alleges that iHOUSEweb, Inc. nevertheless tries to gain customers by telemarketing to them on their cell phones.
Congress decided that banning automated telemarketing calls “except when the receiving party consents to receiving the call or when such calls are necessary in an emergency situation affecting the health and safety of the consumer, is the only effective means of protecting the telephone consumers from this nuisance and privacy invasion.”
The nuisance was bad enough. However, in the case of cell phone customers, telemarketing calls were an expense as well, since cell phone owners normally pay for incoming as well as outgoing calls. Telemarketers are thus not permitted to place calls to consumer cell phones using automatic dialing systems or artificial or prerecorded voices unless they have the consumers’ prior express written consent to receive such calls.
On August 7, 2019 “and on other dates,” plaintiff Donald Hildre received a prerecorded telemarketing call from iHOUSEweb on his cell phone. The call was ostensibly from “Alex” and it was soliciting Hildre’s business.
The complaint says the call came in at work, interrupting Hildre’s tasks and wasting his time. Hildre never gave iHOUSEweb his number, the complaint claims, and never gave them permission to call him with an automatic dialing system.
Even worse, Hildre’s number is on the National Do Not Call Registry, which should have been a separate protection.
The complaint says that Hildre has standing to sue because his claims state a valid injury in fact, which is traceable to the actions of the defendants (in this case, iHOUSEweb), which is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision. The complaint reviews each of these three prongs and cites previous findings to support its case.
It asserts both negligent and knowing and willful violations of the TCPA and asks for statutory damages plus the expenses of bringing suit.
The class for this action is all persons in the US who received a call on their cell phones, from iHOUSEweb or its agents or employees, which was made through the use of an automatic dialing system, between September 18, 2015 and September 2019.