Statement issued Monday:
By placing prerecorded robo-calls to Hoosier consumers who had joined the Do Not Call list, an Indianapolis telephone solicitor violated multiple telephone privacy laws, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.
Zoeller on Friday filed suit against the telephone solicitor, Otis Thomas of 3011 North Gladstone Avenue, Indianapolis, seeking a permanent injunction and thousands of dollars in civil penalties.
“When a solicitor calls Hoosiers who asked not to be called and subjects them to a prerecorded message they didn’t ask to hear, it adds insult to the injury in violation of our laws,” Zoeller said. “Since Indiana consumers have said emphatically they have little tolerance for robo-calls, the robo-callers will find no leniency here.”
According to the complaint filed Friday in Marion County Civil Superior Court, Thomas markets prepaid legal plans and services to consumers. Since at least April 6, 2010, Thomas used an autodialing device to place calls to consumers and played them prerecorded robo-call sales messages without a live operator obtaining their permission first, a prerequisite for such calls to be legal.
Moreover, Thomas placed robo-calls to 12 consumers who had previously registered for the Indiana Do Not Call list, which means they should not have received telemarketing calls regardless of whether the calls were live or prerecorded.
Besides a permanent injunction to block Thomas from placing robo-calls, the Attorney General’s lawsuit seeks civil penalties of up to $10,000 for the first violation and $25,000 for each subsequent violation of the Indiana Telephone Privacy Act. The suit also seeks up to $5,000 for each violation of the Indiana Auto Dialer Act.
“The existence of this widely-known law is no secret and there is no excuse for any solicitor to disregard it now and violate Hoosiers’ privacy. The Indiana General Assembly passed the Auto Dialer Act limiting robo-calls in 1988,” Zoeller said.
Consumers who have received robo-calls and want to lodge a complaint can contact the Attorney General’s Telephone Privacy Division toll-free at 888-834-9969 or visit www.IndianaConsumer.com. At the same number and website, consumers can register for the Do Not Call list – it is updated quarterly – and lodge complaints about telephone privacy violations.
Court dates have not been scheduled yet in the lawsuit.