Legal Articles

Landmark Litigation: Anti-Robocall Task Force Sues VoIP Provider

VoIP Provider, Avid Telcom, faces a landmark lawsuit by Ohio AG and a coalition of states, marking a significant stride against illegal robocalling.

On May 23, 2023, the states of Ohio, Arizona, Indiana, and North Carolina, backed by 44 other states and the District of Columbia, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Arizona against Avid Telecom, an Arizona VoIP service provider, along with its main shareholder and vice president, for violations of the TCPA and the FTC Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).

The action against Avid Telecom marks the first lawsuit initiated by the Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force (the “Anti-Robocall Coalition”), a bipartisan coalition formed to address the pressing issue of illegal robocalls.

The Nature of the Allegations Against the VoIP Provider

According to the Complaint filed by the Anti-Robocall Coalition, Avid Telcom provided customized robocalling services to its clients, which included dialing software enabling them to place high volumes of calls quickly and efficiently and access to Caller ID numbers, while also sending or helping to route illegal robocalls across the country.

Armed with these tools, Avid Telcom allegedly sent or attempted to send over 24.5 billion calls from December 2018 to January 2023, more than 90 percent or which lasted less than 15 seconds, a strong indicator of robocalls.

The Complaint further alleges that Avid Telcom facilitated calls using spoofed or invalid Caller ID numbers, some of which reportedly impersonated the Social Security Administration, Medicare, Amazon, DirecTV, auto warranty companies, credit card companies, and various employers. This fraudulent activity created a veneer of credibility, making the calls more likely to be answered and potentially causing harm to unsuspecting recipients.

VoIP Provider Avid Telcom’s Previous Encounters with the Law

Although this litigation is the first lawsuit filed by the Anti-Robocall Coalition, it is not the first time Avid Telecom has been sued by the State of Ohio, which previously filed suit against an Avid Telcom customer for sending more than 4 billion robocalls between May 2019 and March 2021, leading to a $244 million settlement. Another case is currently pending, which doubtless served as further evidence of the company's potential complicity in illegal robocall activities.

United Front Against Illegal Robocalling

USA Flag representing the United Anti-Robocall Task Force Sues VoIP Provider
United States Flag

The gravity of this situation is further underscored by the support the lawsuit has received from other states, all of which have joined forces to combat illegal robocalls. This is more than just an isolated legal action against a single VoIP Provider. It represents a broader commitment from the legal and regulatory authorities to uphold consumer rights and create a safer, more reliable telecommunications environment.

In response to the rising tide of unwanted calls, consumers are being encouraged to report them to state regulatory authorities via special-purpose websites, such as this one from Ohio. The information derived from these complaints will assist law enforcement agencies to identify trends and formulate protective measures, demonstrating a proactive approach to tackling the illegal robocall issue.

Lessons and Future Implications

The landmark lawsuit against Avid Telcom serves as a stern reminder to other telecom service providers that they can no longer offer unfettered assistance to their customers and will be held accountable for any illegal activities they undertake using their services. They will need to be more cautious and responsible in their operations and do all they can possibly to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.

While this lawsuit represents the first litigation filed by the Anti-Robocall taskforce, it will most certainly not be the last. As the battle continues to unfold, every company in the consumer engagement space must take notice and learn to adapt to an increasingly regulated and monitored landscape.

The Impact of Noncompliance

The VoIP provider under fire serves as a cautionary tale for all companies. By failing to adhere to TCPA and TSR rules, they face significant financial penalties, not to mention a tarnished reputation. This incident serves as a stark reminder that regulatory compliance is not just a business guideline but a critical necessity.

Adopting Proactive Compliance Measures through The Blacklist Alliance

In the increasingly scrutinized landscape of VoIP and telemarketing practices, The Blacklist Alliance stands as a steadfast ally. We offer our clients comprehensive solutions for regulatory compliance, helping them navigate the complex and evolving regulations of the TCPA and TSR.

Through our diligent efforts, we aim to empower businesses to maintain compliant practices, thereby mitigating the risk of lawsuits and hefty penalties. With The Blacklist Alliance by your side, you can confidently operate in a world where regulatory compliance is non-negotiable.