Verizon files lawsuit against telemarketing company

Verizon Wireless has filed a lawsuit against a Utah-based company that it claims illegally used an auto-dialer to call Verizon customers and promote the film "The Velveteen Rabbit." The lawsuit was filed in District Court in Trenton, N.J., and claims that Feature Films for  Families called the customers on behalf of a company called Family 1 Films, which is based in Los Angeles.  

In the lawsuit, Verizon alleges that over the course of 10 days earlier this month, nearly 500,000 calls were made to Verizon customers and employees from the telephone number 917-210-4609.  Customers who answered heard either a pre-recorded message or an individual reading a script promoting the movie.  Verizon alleges that the calls were made in rapid succession, sometimes as quickly as less than half a second apart.

According to Feature Films for Families' website, the company, which is based in Murray, Utah, produces and and distributes "uplifting and entertaining motion pictures that are suitable for all ages and strengthen positive values while containing no profanity, vulgarity, sexual content or graphic violence."

Calls to Feature Films for Families were not answered at deadline. 

The lawsuit claims that the company violated the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which makes it illegal to use an autodialer to make calls to wireless phones, as well as state fraud and privacy laws. This is not the first time that Verizon, the nation's largest wireless carrier, has pursued legal action against telemarketers. Verizon filed a lawsuit in March 2008 against an unknown telemarketing company that it claimed had been callings its subscribers and offering an extended car warranty.

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