Keep Calm and Stay Smart
We can all agree that robocalls are the worst. While there might never be a way to get rid of them entirely (though agencies are certainly working on it), one the most prolific sources of these intrusions is finally getting hauled into court.
CBS News reports that Attorneys General from 48 states (as well as DC) are coming together to file a bipartisan lawsuit against Arizona-based Avid Telecom, its owner Michael D. Lansky and vice president Stacey S. Reeves. The 141-page suit claims that the company illegally made over 7.5 billion calls to people on the National Do Not Call Registry. Arizona Attorney General Kris Meyes claims that nearly 197 million robocalls were made to phone numbers in her state over a five-year period between December 2018 and January 2023.
The lawsuit says that Avid Telecom spoofed phone numbers, including 8.4 million that appeared to be coming from the government or law enforcement, and others disguised as originating from Amazon, DirecTV and many more. The suit alleges that Avid Telecom violated the Telephone and Consumer Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule and several other telemarketing and consumer laws.
The AGs are asking the court to enjoin Avid Telecom from making illegal robocalls, and to pay damages and restitution to the people it called illegally. They're also pursuing several statutory avenues to make Avid cough of money on a per-violation basis, which given the enormous volume of calls it has made, could add up quickly. Sumco Panama, which was responsible for a comparatively smaller 5 billion robocalls, was fined nearly $300 million by the FCC late last year.
Earlier this month, it was reported that XCast Labs is being sued by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over allegedly helping other companies call those on the National Do Not Call Registry.
In 2017, Dish reached a settlement that cost them $210 million. The company allegedly made millions of calls in an attempt to sell and promote its satellite TV service. Dish ultimately had to pay a $126 million civil fine to the US government, and $84 million to residents in California, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio. Hopefully, we’ll see a similar result with Avid Telecom.