Verizon Wireless has won two legal skirmishes against telemarketers who made unwanted sales calls to its customers, and said it has launched a new offensive against unsolicited text messages.
The Bedminster-based subsidiary of Verizon Communications Inc. announced Friday that judges in New Jersey and California have banned a telemarketer from using autodialers or prerecorded messages in calls to Verizon cell phone users.
Verizon Wireless, with 49.3 million customers nationwide, cited the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and state laws prohibiting such cell phone contacts.
"We will vigorously defend the strong wall of customer privacy we've built over the years through our aggressive pro-consumer policies and actions," said Verizon Wireless general counsel Steven Zipperstein in a statement.
In August Verizon Wireless brought what it said was the first such suits by a U.S. wireless company against telemarketers, filing complaints in the states where most of the calls' recipients live.
On Sept. 26, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Robert B. Reed in Somerset County signed an order banning Resort Marketing Trends, a Coral Springs, Fla.-based company, from making unsolicited calls to Verizon cell phone users. Verizon Wireless said the firm made more than 200,000 such calls in July and August.
On Nov. 29, California Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne W.L. Chang in Sacramento signed a similar order against Intelligent Alternatives, which Verizon said made more than 1 million solicitations to Verizon cell phones last summer. In October, Intelligent Alternatives agreed to pay Verizon Wireless $20,000 in damages. A Verizon Wireless spokeswoman said that payment would be donated to the Family Justice Center Foundation in San Diego for its work to counter domestic violence.
Two phone lines listed for Intelligent Alternatives in the San Diego area were disconnected Thursday. No phone numbers could be found for Resort Marketing Trends in Florida.
Last month, the company filed a similar suit in U.S. District Court in Trenton against Passport Holidays, Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Robin Nicol said. Verizon alleges the firm sent more than 98,000 unsolicited text messages pitching vacation offers to Verizon cell phone users in October.
A phone message seeking comment from Passport Holidays' Ormond Beach, Fla., office was not immediately returned Thursday.