Tag Archives: TCPA

FCC Strengthens Consumer Protections Against Unwanted Calls And Texts

June 18, 2015 – The Federal Communications Commission today adopted additional rules (Declaratory Ruling and Order FCC 15-72) to protect consumers against unwanted robocalls and spam texts.

Highlights for consumers:

  1. Green Light for ‘Do Not Disturb’ Technology – Service providers can offer robocall-blocking technologies to consumers and implement market-based solutions that consumers can use to stop unwanted robocalls.
  2. Empowering Consumers to Say ‘Stop’ – Consumers have the right to revoke their consent to receive robocalls and robotexts in any reasonable way at any time.
  3. Reassigned Numbers Aren’t Loopholes – If a phone number has been reassigned, companies must stop calling the number after one call.
  4. Third-Party Consent – A consumer whose name is in the contacts list of an acquaintance’s phone does not consent to receive robocalls from third-party applications downloaded by the acquaintance.
  5. Affirming the Law’s Definition of Autodialer – “Autodialer” is defined in the Act as any technology with the capacity to dial random or sequential numbers. This definition ensures that robocallers cannot skirt consumer consent requirements through changes in calling technology design or by calling from a list of numbers.
  6. Text Messages as Calls – The Commission reaffirmed that consumers are entitled to the same consent-based protections for texts as they are for voice calls to wireless numbers.
  7. Internet-to-Phone Text Messages – Equipment used to send Internet-to-phone text messages is an autodialer, so the caller must have consumer consent before calling.
  8. Very Limited and Specific Exemptions for Urgent Circumstances – Free calls or texts to alert consumers to possible fraud on their bank accounts or remind them of important medication refills, among other financial alerts or healthcare messages, are allowed without prior consent, but other types of financial or healthcare calls, such as marketing or debt collection calls, are not allowed under these limited and very specific exemptions. Also, consumers have the right to opt out from these permitted calls and texts at any time.
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National Robocall Class Action Filed Against Specialized Loan Servicing (SLS)

According to a recent class action complaint (pdf here) filed by the Leonard Law Office, PC and co-counsel:

“Plaintiff  brings this class action challenging Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC’s (SLS’s) standardized practice of calling cellular telephones using an automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS”) or a prerecorded voice without obtaining the subscriber’s prior express consent. These calls violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227, et seq. (TCPA). Such calls are characterized as “robocalls” for purposes of this Complaint.

Part of SLS’s loan servicing business involves making dunning calls to consumers to encourage their payment of outstanding debts. SLS places robocalls to consumers’ cell phones throughout the nation in its collection efforts.

SLS makes a significant portion of such robocalls to cell phone subscribers or users like Plaintiff, who have not consented to receiving any type of call from SLS, much less a robocall from a debt collector. There is no legitimate purpose for these calls.

SLS is a limited liability company formed in the State of Delaware. SLS is wholly-owned by Specialized Loan Servicing Holdings, LLC, a company whose ultimate parent is Computershare Limited, a publicly traded company on the Australian stock exchange. A third party residential mortgage servicer, SLS has offices in Colorado, Georgia, and Arizona, and is licensed in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

According to Plaintiff’s phone records and cellular device, a partial list of calls he from received on his cell phone from SLS are as follows:

  • 06/12/13 05:40 PM from 800-268-9706
  • 08/20/13 10:31 PM from 800-268-9706
  • 08/20/13 10:32 PM from 800-268-9706
  • 11/20/13 09:21 AM from 800-268-9706
  • 12/03/13 02:30 PM from 800-268-9706
  • 01/06/14 04:50 PM from 800-268-9706
  • 03/19/14 from 800-268-9706
  • 04/29/14 09:16 PM from 800-268-9706
  • 04/03/14 from 800-268-9706
  • 04/16/14 from 800-268-9706
  • 5/30/14 from 800-268-9706

SLS Routinely And Systematically Violates The TCPA

There are numerous entries on Internet sites set up to collect and share complaints about unwanted calls. A number of such sites contain complaints regarding similar calls from the same number regarding SLS. For example there are numerous complaints and comments on 800notes.com about (800) 268-9706, the number SLS frequently uses to contact Plaintiff:

  • “These a***oles call me every day with their recorded message and 800#. I don’t know what the hell they are calling about, but I don’t want to talk
    to them.”
  • “Sounds like a debt collector… since the number they are calling is a new one for me I assume it is wrong. Obviously I have no intention of calling
    them back.”
  • “This company is calling me everyday (sic) to get a debt collection from someone else. I really hate it, they should go after the real person… Source: http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-800-268-9706, accessed May 14, 2014.”

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Have you received Junk Faxes from Crystal Training?

August 2017

To report junk faxes from Crystal Training — or more importantly — to provide information about the company and those who operate it, please contact the U.S. Government Agency known as the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC.

You have three options for asking for the FCC’s help in putting a stop to Crystal Training’s junk faxes:

  • File a complaint online
  • By phone: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322); ASL: 1-844-432-2275
  • By mail (please include your name, address, contact information and as much detail about your complaint as possible):

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

Another U.S. Government Agency with jurisdiction over junk faxes, robocalls, and violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act is the Federal Trade Commission. (FTC). The FTC provides an easy process for making complaints via their website.

**************************************************************************

July 2017

Someone from Crystal Training really wanted this site to remove references to another company with a very similar name, going so far as claiming to be a D/B/A of a real Florida business by a different name, and represented by a real Florida attorney.

Part of the email thread is below (from “Justin Lee” – “justin@crystaltrainingsource.com”)

“We absolutely train Nationwide and Canada since they are within reach.

I would respectfully request that you remove our site www.CrystalTrainingSource.com  and simply indicate that Crystal Training from Canada and Crystal Training Source from Jacksonville, Florida are in fact not affiliated.”

It turns out that Florida attorney has never heard of Justin Lee.

***************************************************************************

2016

DEAR CRYSTAL TRAINING:

  • PLEASE STOP SENDING JUNK FAXES TO AMERICAN BUSINESSES!! 
  • SENDING UNSOLICITED FAXES VIOLATES UNITED STATES LAW
  • TONER AND PAPER COST MONEY

A consumer recently complained about receiving a junk fax from Crystal Training (pdf here). The Crystal Training fax from (307) 200-3919 said:

FAX

Crystal Training
2981 Ford St. Ext., Unit #333 Ogdensburg, NY 13669
Phone: 1-800-535-8176 Fax: 1-800-455-7012

Dear Owner/Manager,

We would like to take a moment of your valuable time to tell you about our upcoming QuickBooks, Sage 50 (formerly Peachtree Accounting) and Excel training in your area. Our company provides training classes in many cities coast-to-coast.

The classes run from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, with 30 minute lunch break.  Every student is provided with a notebook computer for use during the class.  Registration cost for any single class is $259 or save 10% with any two or more classes at $229 each. We accept Visa, MasterCard, and Paypal.

Boston: Embassy Suites Boston, 207 Porter Street, Boston MA

For full details, including course topic outlines, please visit our website, at http://www.crystal-training.net or call us at 1-800-535-8176.

Best regards,

Crystal Training
Phone: 1-800-535-8176 Fax: 1-800-455-7012
Live operators: Monday – Friday from 8AM EST to 7PM EST/5AM PST to 4PM PST
web: http://www.crystal-training.net  Email: Info@crystal-training.net

*           *           *

Who is really behind these faxes?

The address given on the Crystal Training faxes in New York is a “mail drop”;  2981 Ford St. Ext. Ogdensburg NY 13669 is a UPS store (See http://ogdensburg-ny-2946.theupsstorelocal.com/) and “Suite #3333” is just a mail box within that UPS store.

Zoominfo.com reports the following information as of 8/8/16 at http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Rudolf-Galan/1752047586

Rudolf Galan
Manager and Co-owner
Crystal Training
85033-1250 Main Street
Stittsville, Ontario k2s 1×6
HQ Phone: (800) 535-8176

Linkedin reports the following information as of 8/8/16 at https://ca.linkedin.com/in/rudolf-galan-a3240017

Rudolf Galan
Manager at Crystal Training
Ottawa, Canada Area
Manager
Crystal Consulting
August 2010 – Present (6 years 1 month)

WHOIS results on the crystal-training.net domain name offers few clues:

Domain Name: CRYSTAL-TRAINING.NET
Registrar: REBEL.CA CORP.
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 735
Whois Server: whois.domainsatcost.ca
Referral URL: http://www.DomainsAtCost.ca
Name Server: CARL.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM
Name Server: GAIL.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM
Updated Date: 25-may-2016
Creation Date: 25-may-2013
Expiration Date: 25-may-2017

 

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Connecticut Passes its own mini-TCPA, with sharp teeth: “…shall be fined not more than [eleven] twenty thousand dollars for each violation.”

The Connecticut Legislature passed its own version of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. This new law goes into effect in October, 2014. The full text (pdf) is pasted below.

 

Substitute Senate Bill No. 209

Public Act No. 14-53

AN ACT PROHIBITING UNSOLICITED COMMERCIAL TEXT
MESSAGES AND INCREASING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF
THE DO NOT CALL REGISTRY. Continue reading

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Judge Posner affirms TCPA class certification and upholds 7th Circuit’s TCPA standing precedent

In a good decision [PDF] for TCPA class actions, Judge Posner today ruled for plaintiffs in ARNOLD CHAPMAN and PALDO SIGN & DISPLAY COMPANY, v. WAGENER EQUITIES, INC. and DANIEL WAGENER.

“…our decision in Holtzman v. Turza, 728 F.3d 682, 684 (7th Cir. 2013), holds that no monetary loss need be shown to entitle the junk‐fax recipient to statutory damages. Whether or not the user of the fax machine is an owner, he may be annoyed, distracted, or otherwise inconvenienced if his use of the machine is interrupted by unsolicited faxes to it, or if the machine wears out prematurely because of overuse attributable to junk faxes.”

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Hangtime Text Message / Privacy Class Action Filed in Massachusetts Federal Court

The Leonard Law Office  is representing plaintiffs in a class action against California app company Hangtime. The case is about unsolicited text messages that allegedly violate federal telemarketing and Massachusetts consumer protection law.

A text from hangtime is below:

Invite to MA Resident (7.6.14)

The Hangtime TCPA Class action complaint (PDF) asserts:

– In a misguided effort to promote its mobile application or “app,” Hangtime engages in an invasive and unlawful form of marketing: the unauthorized transmission of advertising in the form of “text message” calls to the cellular telephones of consumers throughout the nation.

– By effectuating these unauthorized text message calls (“wireless spam”), Hangtime has violated consumers’ statutory rights and has caused consumers actual harm, not only because consumers were subjected to the aggravation that necessarily accompanies wireless spam, but also because consumers frequently have to pay their cell phone service providers for the receipt of such wireless spam.

Hangtime - California App Company

– In order to redress these injuries, Plaintiff, on behalf of himself and a nationwide class of similarly situated individuals, and a Massachusetts subclass, brings action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227, et seq. (“47 U.S.C. § 227”) (the “TCPA”), which prohibits unsolicited voice and text calls to cell phones, and the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, M.G.L. c. 93A, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices.

– Unlike more conventional advertisements, wireless spam invades privacy and can actually cost its recipients money, because cell phone users like Plaintiff must frequently either pay their respective wireless service providers for each text message call they receive or incur a usage allocation deduction to their text plan, regardless of whether or not the message is authorized.

– Over the course of an extended period beginning in at least 2013, Hangtime and its agents directed the mass transmission of wireless spam to the cell phones nationwide of what they hoped were potential customers of Hangtime’s social networking services.

– For instance, on or about December 29, 2013, Plaintiff’s cell phone rang, indicating that a text call was being received.

– The “from” field of the transmission was identified cryptically as “14158153107,” which is a special purpose telephone number known as a long code operated by Hangtime and its agents.  The body of such text message read:

Mikey Leftside shared events with you on Hangtime. http://hangti.me/XiEpF6mLKc

Hangtime’s and its agents’ use of a long code enabled Hangtime’s mass transmission of wireless spam to a list of cellular telephone numbers.

Hangtime sent these messages using equipment with the capacity to store or produce telephone numbers to be called using a random or sequential number generator and to dial such numbers

– By use of these methods, Hangtime sent text messages that were the same or practically the same as the message sent to Plaintiff, referenced in Paragraph 15 above, to numerous cell phones throughout the country.

– These text messages, including the text message sent to Plaintiff did not originate from, nor were they created by, the individuals referenced in the messages (though the messages were intended and made to appear that way).  Rather, the messages sent to Plaintiff and other class members originated from and were created by Hangtime as a promotional device for its service.

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The Incredible Nuisance of Junk Faxes

Unsolicited faxes damage their recipients. A junk fax recipient loses the use of its fax machine, paper, and ink toner. An unsolicited fax wastes the recipient’s valuable time that would have been spent on something else. A junk fax interrupts the recipient’s privacy. Unsolicited faxes prevent fax machines from receiving authorized faxes, prevent their use for authorized outgoing faxes, cause undue wear and tear on the recipients’ fax machines, and require additional labor to attempt to discern the source and purpose of the unsolicited message.

In 1991, Congress enacted the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 et seq. (“TCPA”) to regulate the explosive growth of the telemarketing industry. In so doing, Congress recognized that “unrestricted telemarketing . . . can be an intrusive invasion of privacy . . .” See 47 U.S.C. § 227, Congressional Statement of Findings #5. Specifically, in enacting the TCPA, Congress outlawed telemarketing via unsolicited facsimile (“Junk Fax”). See 47 U.S.C. §227(b)(1)(C).

Section 227(b)(1)(C) of the Act makes it “unlawful for any person within the United States. . . to use any telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other device to send, to a telephone facsimile machine, an unsolicited advertisement.” See 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(1)(C); see also 47 C.F.R. § 64.1200(a)(3).

Under the TCPA, recipients of unsolicited fax advertisements can file suit in federal or state court to collect the greater of $500 or actual damages for each violation, and/or obtain an injunction. See 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(3)(B). If a court determines that the violations were willful or knowing, damages can be tripled. This means that every distinct junk fax sent out could result in damages of $1,500.

Example of a “Junk Fax”:

junk fax from regents capital finance

IF RECEIVE UNWANTED TEXT MESSAGES, ROBOCALLS, OR FAXES FROM A BUSINESS, YOU ARE WELCOME TO CONTACT US. THE LEONARD LAW OFFICE, LLP IS ACCEPTING NEW TCPA CASES. 

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Are Annoying Telemarketing Calls, Spam Text Messages and Junk Faxes Illegal — and Can You Make Them Pay?

Obnoxious Robocalls, Unsolicited Text Messages, and Junk Faxes Are Often Unlawful

Examples of TCPA violations:

  • Bill receives a call on his cell phone from an unfamiliar number, and when he picks up, hears a pre-recorded voice offering to sell him something.  He is annoyed and hangs up. After Googling the phone number that called him, and reading all the complaints, it is clear the call was placed by a robocalling telemarketing operation.
  • Sarah sits on the subway on the way to work. She receives a text message from her new hairstylist: “Goddess hair salon offers text reminders. Reply with ‘Y’ to sign up. ” She never gave the salon permission to send her text messages in the first place.
  • Joan runs a small business. One day, she receives an unsolicited fax from a fast food company offering her coupons.

Text Messages and Federal Law

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “The TCPA and the FCC’s rules ban many text messages sent to a mobile phone using an autodialer. These texts are banned unless (1) you previously gave consent to receive the message or (2) the message is sent for emergency purposes. This ban applies even if you have not placed your mobile phone number on the national Do-Not-Call list of numbers telemarketers must not call.

Robocalls aka Telemarketing Calls And Federal Law

Federal law regarding telemarketing calls is embodied in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) and FCC Rules enacted to interpret and enforce the purpose of the TCPA:

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Ocwen – A Company To Be Wary Of?

INVESTIGATION CLOSED — PLEASE REFER COMPLAINTS TO:

Ocwen is a mortgage servicing company headquartered in Florida.  A “mortgage servicer” is a debt collector by another name. Ocwen’s phone number is (561) 682-8000. Ocwen (Ocwen Financial Corporation) is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol OCN.

Ocwen

Complaints about Ocwen

Complaints at Consumeraffairs.com (408 complaints)

Complaints at RipoffReport.com (2,026 complaints)

Complaints at Complaints.com (45 complaints)

Complaints at Complaintsboard.com (682)

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SEO Company 29 Prime Faces TCPA (Robocall) Class Action

cancer

Actual complaint filed about 29 Prime a/k/a “Reliable Places”

Updates

July, 2016 – 29 Prime has filed for bankruptcy. This is not a surprise, since Russell Wallace filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009.

March 13, 2016 – Check out this blog about 29 Prime and Russell Wallace: 29 Prime Scam Warning – Exposing the truth behind 29prime.com -another Russell Wallace scam and the highly negative Yelp reviews about 29 Prime here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/29-prime-irvine

November 4, 2015 – If you receive unwanted robocalls to your cellphone, or prerecorded calls to your landline from 29 Prime (or whatever this company is calling itself now), contact the Federal Trade Commission here: www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

July 28, 2015 – This morning I received a robocall on my personal cell phone from someone regarding a free Google listing (caller id: 617-207-0003). The obnoxious fellow I spoke with said he was in Orange County California (caller id obviously spoofed).  He claimed he was with “Lighthouse Marketing” and directed me to a website. I later learned that the owner of this business has been receiving complaints for over a year because someone has been giving out her company’s name when placing robocalls about free Google listings. Lighthouse Marketing is a reputable small business that does not place outbound sales calls about SEO optimization or Google rankings. Did 29 Prime robocall my cell phone?

July 27, 2015 – Please note: Our class action lawsuit against 29 Prime only addresses allegations of robocalls. If you have other complaints about 29 Prime (i.e. page ranking promises, quality of SEO services, billing problems, etc.) the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may be able to assist you.  The link to register a complaint with the FTC is: www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

April 23, 2015 – Second Amended Class Action Complaint (pdf) filed in California against 29 Prime, Inc., OC Listing Inc., Local Zoom, Tony Redman, Russell Wallace.

September 4, 2014 – First Amended Class Action Complaint (pdf) filed, adding as defendants OC Listing, Inc., Local Zoom, Russell Wallace, and Tony Redman. Summons Issued as to Local Zoom, OC Listing, Inc., Tony Redman, Russell Wallace.

July 29, 2014 – The following transaction was entered into Pacer on 7/29/2014 at 2:47 PM EDT and filed on 7/29/2014 Case Name: Russell v. 29 Prime, Inc.  Case Number: 1:13-cv-12814-NMG Docket Text:  ELECTRONIC Clerk’s Notes for proceedings held before Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton: Scheduling Conference held on 7/29/2014: Automatic Discovery to be completed by 8/12/14; Amendments and/or Supplements to the Pleadings due by 8/25/2014; written discovery served by 11/30/14, answered by 12/31/14; all fact Discovery to be completed by 3/6/2015; Motion for Class Certification due by 4/15/2015, opposition due by 5/15/2015, reply due by 5/31/2015. Motion Hearing set for 6/25/2015 03:00 PM in Courtroom 4 before Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton. (Court Reporter: No Court Reporter Used.)(Attorneys present: Pastor, Smith, Baruch (by phone), Salinger) (Patch, Christine)

July 25, 2014 – 29 Prime filed its Answer to the Class Action Complaint (Russell v. 29 Prime, Inc. Case Number: 1:13-cv-12814-NMG) (pdf)

July 15, 2014 –  Judge Gorton’s Denial of Motion to Dismiss Opinion featured on Leagle:

“…I) PURPOSEFUL AVAILMENT

29 PRIME’s phone calls to Massachusetts residents, through its resellers, also constitute sufficient contacts to satisfy the purposeful availment inquiry. See, e.g., Hudak v. Berkley Grp., Inc., No. 3:13-cv-00089-WWE, 2014 WL 354676, at *3 (D. Conn. Jan. 23, 2014). 29 PRIME must contact prospective customers in order to secure sales but not all solicitations will result in business relationships. Because the forum selection, choice of law, and arbitration clauses only apply to customers who execute the Terms & Conditions sheet, it was reasonably foreseeable that these clauses would not govern all of 29 PRIME’s contacts with Massachusetts…”

…II) PUBLIC INTERESTS
The public interest factors do not compel jurisdiction in California. Massachusetts has a local interest in providing a convenient forum for its residents against foreign corporations. Rodriguez v. Samsung Elec. Co., Ltd., 734 F.Supp.2d 220, 228 (D. Mass. 2010). California, however, also has an interest in remedying injuries caused by one of its resident corporations. See id. Given both interests, the public interest inquiry is a wash. Id. Because this Court defers to plaintiff’s choice of forum and the private factors weigh in favor of jurisdiction, defendant’s motion to dismiss for improper venue will be denied.”

July 14, 2014 – Law 360 Article – Tech Co. Can’t Escape Massachusetts TCPA Class Action (pdf).

“A Massachusetts federal judge on Thursday refused to toss a proposed class action accusing search engine optimizer 29 Prime Inc. of making mass phone calls to consumers in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, rejecting its argument that the court lacked jurisdiction.

Plaintiff alleges that 29 Prime made mass solicitations to him and other putative class members using autodialers without their consent, but the company filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and for improper venue to transfer this case…”

July 10, 2014 – 29 Prime’s Motion to Dismiss Denied – Memorandum and Order (pdf).

July 8, 2014 – Freedom of Information Act documents from the FTC (pdf) and FCC (pdf) about 29 Prime and robocalls.

February 5, 2014 – three months after our case, a copycat federal TCPA class action was filed against 29 Prime by Washington and California lawyers. The copycat case is Marlowe v. 29 Prime (pdf ).

 New Court documents:

  • Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Law in Oppostion to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss (pdf)
  • 29 Prime’s Motion to Dismiss (pdf)
  • Affidavit of Russell Wallace (pdf)

*     *     *

On November 6, 2013, Leonard Law Office LLP, Pastor Law Office LLP, Sweetnam LLC, and Milberg LLP filed a class action lawsuit against California search engine optimization company 29 Prime for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The TCPA is a federal law that generally forbids telemarketing calls to cell phones.

29 Prime

29 Prime, Inc.

A Summons [PDF here] was filed on November 18, 2013. 29 The Class Action Complaint [PDF here] alleges:

“Plaintiff brings this action for damages, and other legal and equitable remedies, resulting from the actions of Defendant in negligently, knowingly, and/or willfully placing calls to Plaintiff’s cellular telephone using an automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS”) (i.e., “robocalls”) without his prior express consent in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 et seq. (“TCPA”).

Plaintiff is the primary user of the cellular telephone to which Defendant placed calls using an ATDS without his express consent and is a member of the class defined herein.

 Defendant, 29 Prime, is a corporation organized under the laws of Nevada with its principal place of business at 9701 Jeronimo Road., Irvine, California, 92618. The nature of 29 Prime’s business is to place calls to telephones throughout the United States to solicit unsuspecting customers for search engine optimization services, making claims about their ability to improve Google rankings. Defendant has in the past and continues to operate under unincorporated alter egos with similar websites, such as “Reliable Places.” The company was founded in 2010 by Russell Wallace and Tony Redman.  The Defendant placed robocalls to Plaintiff and other class members in violation of the TCPA, as alleged herein.”  More Excerpts from the class action complaint are pasted at below.

If you have information about 29 Prime’s business practices, or have been affected by telemarketing to your cell phone, you are welcome to contact us

Information about 29 Prime

29 Prime is a web site design and search engine optimization company. This is an industry whose validity and efficacy has been questioned.  29 Prime is apparently one of the most successful SEO companies. “In 2012, 29 Prime, Inc. placed 36 on Inc. Magazine‘s Inc. 5000 list, which ranks the fastest-growing companies in the country based on revenue growth. According to the list, the organization ranked sixth among the top 100 advertising and marketing companies in the United States, seventh among all companies in California, including fourth in Los Angeles and second in Orange County.”

Inc. Magazine’s online profile of the company describes 29 Prime as a company which “specializes in increasing small and midsize local businesses’ visibility on the Internet. The company guarantees front page placement on Google as well as placement on Yahoo and Bing, and also offers video SEO, coupons, and Facebook and Twitter strategies.”  The article reported 2011 income of 6.4MM.

In October, 2012, the Orange County Business Journal [PDF] ranked 29 Prime as number one on the list of fastest growing private companies, with 2012 revenues of 8.7 MM, located at  9701 Jeronimo Road, third floor, Irvine CA 92618-2020.

Is 29 Prime’s Autodialler Responsible for the Company’s Explosive Growth?

“the dialer calls out”

29 Prime CEO Russell Wallace claims: “Our goal is to help business owners that aren’t Web savvy to get online, build their reputation and grow their business.” According to his Linkedin profile, Russell Wallace, 31, is “Co-Founder and CEO of 29 Prime, Inc.,” with “more than 10 years’ experience directing as many as 300 employees in companies with revenues in excess of $30 million.” Russell Wallace and Tony Redman founded the company in 2010.

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Victims of Green Tree Servicing and Bank of America

PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THIS OFFICE ABOUT GREEN TREE SERVICING FOR ANY REASON. EMAILS AND VOICEMAILS ABOUT GREEN TREE WILL NOT BE RETURNED.

PLEASE TRY THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU, BECAUSE THEY ARE ASSISTING CONSUMERS WITH ISSUES WITH GREEN TREE SERVICING. SEE http://www.consumerfinance.gov/newsroom/cfpb-and-federal-trade-commission-take-action-against-green-tree-servicing-for-mistreating-borrowers-trying-to-save-their-homes/

4/21/15 UPDATE: THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS HELD GREEN TREE SERVICING ACCOUNTABLE. 

Green Tree Servicing Allegedly Deceived Homeowners, Many of Whom Were Already in Financial Distress

A national mortgage servicing company will pay $63 million to resolve Federal Trade Commissionand Consumer Financial Protection Bureau charges that it harmed homeowners with illegal loan servicing and debt collection practices.

The FTC and CFPB allege that Green Tree Servicing LLC made illegal and abusive debt collection calls to consumers, misrepresented the amounts people owed, and failed to honor loan modification agreements between consumers and their prior servicers, among other charges.

Under the proposed settlement, Green Tree will pay $48 million to affected consumers and a $15 million civil penalty. The company also will stop its alleged illegal practices, create a home preservation plan for some distressed homeowners, and take rigorous steps to ensure that it collects the correct amounts from consumers.

“It’s against the law for a loan servicer to lie about the debts people owe, or threaten and harass people about their debts,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Working together, the FTC and CFPB are holding Green Tree responsible for mistreating homeowners, including people in financial distress.”

Green Tree has become the servicer for a substantial number of consumers who were behind on their mortgage payments at the time their loans were transferred to Green Tree. Because homeowners cannot choose their servicer, they are locked into a relationship with the company for as long as it services their loans.

Illegal Debt Collection Practices

According to the FTC and the CFPB, Green Tree’s collectors called consumers who were late on mortgage payments many times per day, including at 5 a.m. or 11 p.m., or at their workplace, every day, week after week, and left many voicemails on the same day. They also unlawfully threatened consumers with arrest or imprisonment, seizure of property, garnishment of wages, and foreclosure, and used loud and abusive language, including calling consumers “deadbeats,” mocking their illnesses and other struggles, and yelling and cursing at them. The company also allegedly revealed debts to consumers’ employers, co-workers, neighbors, and family members, and encouraged them to tell the consumers to pay the debt or help them pay it. The complaint also alleges that Green Tree took payments from some consumers’ bank accounts without their consent.

The agencies also allege that Green Tree pressured consumers to make payments via Speedpay, a third-party service that charges a $12 “convenience” fee per transaction, claiming it was the only way to pay, or that consumers had to use the service to avoid a late fee.

Mishandled Loan Modifications and Delayed Short Sale Requests

According to the complaint, in many instances, Green Tree failed to honor loan modifications that were in the process of being finalized when consumers’ loans were transferred from other servicers to Green Tree. This resulted in consumers making higher monthly payments, receiving collection calls, and even losing their homes to foreclosure.  Green Tree also allegedly misled consumers about their loss mitigation options. The company told some consumers who were behind on their mortgages that they needed to make a payment to be considered for a loan modification, even for programs that prohibited the company from requiring up-front payments. In addition, Green Tree took up to six months to respond to consumers’ short sale requests despite telling them it would respond much more quickly. These delays caused consumers to lose potential buyers, miss other loss mitigation options, and face foreclosures they could have avoided.

Misrepresented Account Status to Consumers and Credit Reporting Agencies

According to the complaint, Green Tree misrepresented the amounts consumers owed or the terms of their loans. This included telling consumers they owed fees they did not owe, or that they had to make higher monthly payments than their mortgage contracts required. The company often knew or had reason to believe that specific portfolios of loans it acquired from other servicers contained unreliable or missing information. In many instances, it should have known that consumers had loan modifications from prior servicers and therefore owed lower amounts. And when consumers disputed the amounts owed or terms of their loans, Green Tree failed to investigate the disputes before continuing collections.

Green Tree also allegedly furnished consumers’ credit information to consumer reporting agencies when it knew, or had reasonable cause to believe, that the information was inaccurate, and failed to correct the information after determining that it was incomplete or inaccurate – often when consumers told Green Tree about it.

Proposed Settlement Order

In addition to the $63 million in monetary payments, the proposed settlement order includes provisions that require Green Tree to:

  • establish and maintain a comprehensive data integrity program to ensure the accuracy and completeness of data and other information about consumers’ accounts, before servicing them;
  • cease collection of amounts disputed by consumers until Green Tree investigates the dispute and provides consumers with verification of the amounts owed;
  • meet certain loan servicing requirements to ensure that whenever Green Tree is involved in the sale or transfer of servicing rights, the buyer or transferee will honor loss mitigation agreements and properly review outstanding loss mitigation requests;
  • ensure that it has enough personnel and the technical capacity to handle loss mitigation requests and respond to consumer inquiries in a timely fashion, and make its loss mitigation application available to consumers at no cost and on its website;
  • implement a “Home Preservation Requirement” to provide loss mitigation options to consumers whose loans were transferred to Green Tree during the time period covered by the complaint; and
  • obtain substantiation for any amounts collected when consumers have in-process loan modifications, and for purported amounts due when there is reason to believe a newly transferred loan portfolio is seriously flawed.

The proposed order also prohibits Green Tree from making material misrepresentations about loans, processing procedures, payment methods, and fees, from taking unauthorized withdrawals from consumer accounts, and from violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint and proposed stipulated order was 5-0. The FTC filed the complaint and proposed stipulated order in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. Stipulated orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

To learn more, read Making Payments to Your Mortgage Servicer and Debt Collection.

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PLEASE READ: DUE TO AN OVERWHELMING NUMBER OF CALLS, WE RESPECTFULLY REQUEST THAT YOU REFER YOUR GENERAL COMPLAINTS ABOUT GREEN TREE SERVICING’S BUSINESS PRACTICES TO THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU (www.consumerfinance.gov)

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VICTIMS OF GREEN TREE SERVICING

AND BANK OF AMERICA


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Junk Fax, Junk Text, and Junk Call Cases

TCPA Cases

Leonard Law Office, PC is representing clients who have been subjected to unwanted calls on their cell phones placed by autodialling equipment in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).  Unwanted text messages and faxes from business also usually violate the TCPA.

Homer Simpson's Autodialer
Homer Simpson’s Autodialer

Surprising, but True – Big Companies Violate the TCPA

Like Homer Simpson, some companies are stupid. Like Homer, it is as though they don’t know enough to stay out of trouble.  However, it’s usually not funny when U.S. corporations break the law. Whenever a business uses autodialling equipment to contact consumers’ cell phones and they do not not have express written persmission to do so, it is unlawful. The same goes for text messages, and faxes.  Companies such as Jiffy Lube, Walmart, Target, and Burger King have been hit with class actions for alleged violations of the TCPA. Continue reading

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Icashloans.com Discussion

Recently, the company “icashloans.com” sent a text message purportedly from (757) 462-0547 claiming:
“Wells Fargo is offering $950 cash loans deposited in 2 hrs. Bad Credit is OK. Claim the money at cashin2hrs.com and get funds transferred now.”

If you have received an unsolicited text message from this or any other company, federal law (Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991) provides that you may be entitled to significant financial compensation for each violation.

In addition to private litigation over unsolicited text messages, The Federal Trade Commission has taken to suing text spammers. See an example of an FTC text spam complaint here.

icashloans.com text

icashloans.com text

If you have any information about this company, including who is behind it and where they are actually located, please contact us.

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icashloans.com

icashloans.com

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The address listed on their website is below:

iCashLoans.com
6130 Elton Ave
Suite 386
Las Vegas, NV 89107  (855) 208-8086

See the scambook.com listing about this company here.

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Cardmember Services Robocalls

Today I received a robocall from (202) 768-7192 and a pre-recorded voice announced an offer from “Card Member Services” to lower my interest rates. When I pressed one to be connected to an operator, a fellow who claimed to be named Mark came on the line.  I immediately asked for the name and address of the business he works for. He claimed that I called him when I pressed one, and that he was at an inbound calling center.  I asked what state he was in. He said Florida. I told him that caller ID showed the call as coming from the Washington D.C. and asked how that could be. He repeated the line about me pressing one.  I asked him for the physical address of the boiler room in which he was working. He replied: “I am not at liberty to tell you that information. There is nothing you can do.”  Someone owes me at least $500 for violating the TCPA. I thought the FTC shut this operation down already – apparently not.

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Stopping illegal robocalls is a top priority of the Federal Trade Commission, which recently announced the  FTC Robocall Challenge. Read on to learn about the contest: Continue reading

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Filed under Business Misconduct

Debt Collection, Harrassment, Cell Phones, Federal Law, and Massachusetts Law

See Also: Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers

Obviously, it is annoying to receive unwanted telephone calls from anyone, especially telemarketers and debt collectors. When calls are about a debt you don’t even owe, or to your cell phone, or placed by an autodialer, they are downright infuriating.  There are a number of overlapping state and federal consumer protection statutes – 93A,  FDCPA and TCPA – that can be used to stop harassment and penalize violators.

Massachusetts law

93A prohibits unfair and deceptive conduct directed at Massachusetts consumers. The Massachusetts Debt Collection Law, c. 93 § 49, prohibits the collection or attempted collection of a debt in “an unfair, deceptive or unreasonable manner.” Any violation of 93 § 49 is considered an “unfair or deceptive act or practice” under 93A. 93 § 49 specifies four particular practices deemed to be unfair, deceptive or unreasonable, of which harassment is one.

Federal law

FDCPA prohibits further contact upon written request. FDCPA requires validation of a questioned debt. TCPA prohibits calls initiated by an auto dialer to a cellular telephone. If the consumer did not provide their cell phone number to the original creditor or the debt collector, the debt collector violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) every time it calls the consumer’s cell phone by using an auto-dialer or predictive dialing machine. TCPA violations occur when the caller causes a phone to ring.

The four most important things the FDCPA provide are:

  • the right to be be left alone by debt collectors upon written request;
  • the right to dispute a debt and to be shown that there is a valid debt being collected;
  • the right to be undisturbed by abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices;
  • to receive up to $1,000 for each such violation.

The three most important things the TCPA provide are:

Statutory Damages

FDCPA:  up to $1,000, attorneys’ fees, and costs per call.

TCPA: $500 per violation and, if the violation is willful and knowing,  up to $1,500 per call.

There are exceptions to the TCPA. The most commonly invoked exception is  “express consent.” The FCC opined that “the provision of a cell phone number to a creditor, e.g., as part of a credit application, reasonably evidences prior express consent by the cell phone subscriber to be contacted at that number regarding the debt.” 2008 TCPA Order at ¶9. Tang v. Enhanced Recovery, LLC.  Annoying debt collection calls, even those to the wrong person, are not necessarily violations. See: NY Federal Court Agrees: No Telephone Consumer Protection Act Violation for Misdirected Prerecorded Debt Collection Calls, and Santino v. NCO.

These days, most people do not have landlines, and use only a cell phone as their primary phone number. When a debt collector is hounding you on your cell phone,  the question of course becomes, “Can A Debt Collector Call My Cell Phone?” Basically, the answer is no, unless you gave the original creditor your cell phone number.

How to make calls stop?

Should You Hire an Attorney?

Yes.  If you do not have a lawyer, hold your horses.  Before firing off a letter to the debt collector yourself, Continue reading

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Spam texts are usually illegal – and can result in damages of $1500 per text

The other night I received this spam text:

Message: Your entry in our drawing WON you a FREE $1,000 Target Giftcard! Enter “617” at www.target.com.tbgz.biz to claim it and we can ship it to you immediately!  Details: Sender: (no name) +19018348547 Received: 1:35:05am, July 7, 2012.

What is the law about spam text messages?

47 U.S.C.§ 227 et seq., the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the “TCPA”) specifically prohibits unsolicited voice and text calls to cell phones. The TCPA provides for a statutory minimum of $500 dollars per unlawful text message.

According to findings by the Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”), the agency Congress vested with authority to issue regulations implementing the TCPA, such calls are prohibited because, as Congress found, automated or prerecorded telephone calls are a greater nuisance and invasion of privacy than live solicitation calls, and such calls can be costly and inconvenient. The FCC also recognized that wireless customers are charged for incoming calls whether they pay in advance or after the minutes are used. See Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.

Under the TCPA and pursuant to the FCC’s January 2008 Declaratory Ruling, the burden is on Defendant to demonstrate that Plaintiff provided express consent within the meaning of the statute. See FCC Declaratory Ruling  23F.C.C.R. At 565 (¶ 10).16. Text messages are “calls” within the context of the TCPA. Satterfield v. Simon & Schuster, Inc., 569 F.3d 946 (9th. Cir. 2009).

 

Note: This spam text was not sent by Target, and is a scam. Tracking down and recovering damages against the sender would be nearly impossible. If you have received a spam text from a real business, you may be able to recover $500 per unlawful test message.

UPDATE:

Deceptive Messages Promised “Free” $1,000 Gift Cards to Major Retailers

Two affiliate-marketing scammers and their company have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they sent millions of unwanted text messages to consumers across the U.S. with false promises of $1,000 gift cards to retailers like Best Buy, Target and Walmart.

Under the terms of their settlement with the FTC, Scott A. Dalrymple of Pennsylvania and Robert Jerrold Wence of Texas, who operated a company called Advert Marketing, Inc., will be permanently banned from sending unwanted or unsolicited commercial text messages or assisting others in doing so. In addition, the two will also be prohibited from misrepresenting to consumers whether a product is “free,” whether they have won a prize or been selected for a gift, or other behavior related to the nature of the scam.

Dalrymple, Wence and Advert Marketing were among the defendants named in the FTC’s 2013 enforcement sweep against text message spammers and affiliate marketers who used false promises of free gift cards to draw consumers into websites that asked them to provide credit card information to sign up for trial offers.

The settlement contains a monetary judgment for $4.2 million, which is partially suspended due to the defendants’ inability to pay. Under the terms of the settlement, Dalrymple and Wence will be required to pay $15,000 each to the Commission, and will be required to destroy any consumer data they may have collected while conducting the text message spam operation.

The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated final judgment was 5-0. The FTC filed the proposed stipulated final judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, and the Court entered the stipulated final judgment on June 10, 2014.

NOTE: Stipulated final judgments have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

Need a Massachusetts TCPA lawyer? Preston W. Leonard, Esq. accepts TCPA cases; Tel.: (617) 329-1295.

 

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