BASKING RIDGE, NJ — Verizon Wireless said today it has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Trenton, N.J. against several Miami-based companies and individuals who have conducted an unwanted and illegal telemarketing campaign to Verizon Wireless customers. The campaign involved using pre-recorded messages in Spanish as well as techniques and technology to mask the origin of the call.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are: Mega Travel Inc., Mega Travel, All Star Market Corp., Chile Insider Corp., all in Miami, and several individuals believed to be associated with these companies.
The Caller ID that appeared for the nearly 900,000 calls made to Verizon Wireless accounts indicated the call was from the 859 area code, which is in Kentucky. The lawsuit alleges that Mega Travel and Mega Travel Inc. are using Voice over IP or some other technology to make it appear that the calls are coming from the 859 area code, when in fact they are coming from South Florida.
"We've seen increasingly sophisticated ways that these companies try to reach our customers," said Steven E. Zipperstein, vice president and general counsel of Verizon Wireless. "Whatever the method, these unlawful telemarketing calls invade the privacy of Verizon Wireless' customers, and we will continue to use every weapon in our legal arsenal to protect our customers."
The lawsuit alleges that Verizon Wireless customers received calls on their wireless telephones, beginning in April 2007, with a pre-recorded voice message in Spanish saying that the recipient had won a vacation package. The message then asked the customer to press "1" to be connected to a live operator. If the caller spoke English, the operator usually disconnected the call; however, if the caller spoke Spanish, the call continued, with the operator offering to secure a vacation package to Orlando or Las Vegas with a credit card number or a call back to a number with a 305, or South Florida, area code.
The lawsuit alleges violations of the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which makes it illegal to use an auto-dialer to make calls to wireless phones, as well as state fraud and privacy laws.
The company's record of protecting customer privacy puts Verizon Wireless at the forefront of the U.S. wireless industry. Over the past several years, Verizon Wireless has won permanent injunctions against individuals and companies that have engaged in illegal telemarketing and text message spamming to Verizon Wireless customers, and against those who have attempted to obtain information about Verizon Wireless customers to sell to third parties.
About Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving more than 60.7 million customers. The largest US wireless company and largest wireless data provider, based on revenues, Verizon Wireless is headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 66,000 employees nationwide. The company 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.####