Verizon Wireless Continues Action to Protect Customer Privacy; Reaches Settlement with Telemarketer Using Spanish-Language Messages
Company Will Donate $5,000 From Legal Action to Domestic Violence Prevention Agency
07/20/2006, BASKING RIDGE, NJ — Verizon Wireless, owner and operator of the nation’s most reliable wireless network, has won a permanent injunction to stop All Star Vacations and Marketing Group, Inc. of Miami, Fla. from making telemarketing calls to Verizon Wireless customers. This victory in protecting customer privacy will also benefit Casa de Esperanza, an organization that works to mobilize Latina and Latino communities to end domestic violence.
Verizon Wireless initially filed a lawsuit in February 2006 charging All Star, as well as another Florida travel company, with illegal solicitation of wireless phone customers, after more than 500,000 calls in Spanish were placed to Verizon Wireless customers on behalf of these companies indicating that the customer had won a trip to one of several resort locations and that directed the customer to call a toll-free number to claim their prize.
Verizon Wireless recently amended the lawsuit to include Southeastern Bell Corporation (“Southeastern”) and its principals Orlando Guitan and Juan Serrano. The amended complaint alleges that All Star Vacations engaged Southeastern to make the unlawful telemarketing calls on its behalf. The suit asks for a permanent injunction and damages against Southeastern and its officers.
“Our commitment to protecting our customers against invasions of their privacy has not wavered,” said Steven Zipperstein, general counsel and vice president of legal and external affairs at Verizon Wireless. “This settlement is another victory for our customers and we will continue to take all necessary steps to vigorously defend our customers’ privacy and protect them from these unwanted calls.”
This lawsuit was believed to be the first of its kind involving Spanish-language messages. Under the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, All Star Vacations and Marketing Group, Inc. is barred from contacting any Verizon Wireless customer using “auto-dialing” equipment, which sends large bursts of phone messages to sequential phone numbers within very short periods of time, or using an artificial or prerecorded voice.
The injunction was entered as the result of a settlement between Verizon Wireless and All Star Vacations and Marketing Group, Inc. An agreement was reached between Verizon Wireless and All Star Vacations on May 24th and the injunction was entered in New Jersey Superior Court by Judge Robert Reed.
As part of the settlement, All Star Vacations paid Verizon Wireless $5,000 in damages, which Verizon Wireless will donate to Casa de Esperanza on behalf of its HopeLine® program. Casa de Esperanza, based in St. Paul, Minn., provides training throughout the U.S. for organizations serving battered Latinas and working with Latino communities. Verizon Wireless, a recognized corporate leader in the effort to stop domestic violence, works to prevent domestic violence and raise awareness of the issue nationwide through the company’s HopeLine phone recycling program.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation’s most reliable wireless network, serving 53 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.
The Verizon Wireless HopeLine program collects phones of any wireless carrier and refurbishes or recycles them with all proceeds benefiting victims of domestic violence. The environmentally friendly HopeLine program puts wireless services and equipment to work to assist victims in emergency domestic violence situations. Donations are accepted at Verizon Wireless Communications Stores across the country. For additional information, customers can also visit www.verizonwireless.com/hopline.
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