Verizon Wireless Sues "Velveteen Rabbit" Telemarketers

Hooray for Verizon Wireless! Wait, what? The cellular carrier has just filed a lawsuit against Feature Films For Families for illegally telemarketing. Specifically, they’re accusing the company of using an auto-dialer to cold call hundreds of thousands of Verizon Wireless customers earlier this month, which is illegal according to NJ state laws (where the suit was filed) and the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

According to the suit, Feature Films made about 500,000 calls in a 10-day period earlier this month to Verizon Wireless customers and employees from the phone number 917-210-4609. People who answered either heard an automated message or an individual encouraging them to see the movie.

Verizon Wireless suspects the use of an auto-dialer since many of these calls came in rapid succession. Between 4 PM and 5 PM on Feb. 13, for example, the same number placed 11,000 calls, Verizon said.

Verizon Wireless is seeking a preliminary injunction against the company, which may not mean much since the movie is opening in really, really limited release tomorrow. However, the carrier is also seeking $500 in damages for each call made to a Verizon Wireless customer, which is a punishment we like very much.

Although this is great news, you shouldn’t let it stop you from filing your own complaint with your state Attorney General and the FTC if you received a call on behalf of the company. The best way to send a clear message to unethical telemarketers—and Feature Films For Families was caught doing this exact same stunt two years ago—is to throw every resource you can at them.

“Verizon Sues Telemarketers Pushing Kids Film” [PC Mag] (Thanks to Brian!)
“Verizon Wireless Hunts Rabbits” [WSJ]
“Bad Rabbit!” [Radar Online]

“This ‘Velveteen Rabbit’ Teaches You The Triumph Of Love. Also Of Telemarketing.”
“How The “Velveteen Rabbit” Company Is Bypassing The Do Not Call List”