Texas woman tired of sales calls sues DirecTV

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Feb. 25, 2009, 4:57am

MARSHALL – Fed up with the numerous automated telephone sales calls from a satellite television service, an East Texas woman has filed a suit against the company and is seeking $1,500 per call in damages.

Virginia Calhoun claims DirecTV continued to make automated calls to her home phone in spite of her pleas for them to stop. She states she did not have a business relationship with the company making the calls nor consented to the marketing calls.

Arguing violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Calhoun filed the suit on Feb. 20 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act prohibits residential telephone calls by artificial or prerecorded messages without prior consent unless the call is for emergency purposes.

The lawsuit argues DirecTV has violated the Act for years despite reasonable actions to stop it. Calhoun is asking the court for an injunction to restrain DirecTV from the alleged telephone calls.

The Act allows "actual monetary loss from such a violation, or to receive $500 in damages for each such violation, whichever is greater."

Calhoun is seeking $1,500 per call, arguing that if DirecTV "willfully or knowingly violated the TCPA, the court may increase the amount of the award to an amount equal to not more than three times the $500 per call as damages."

Although DirecTV has not seen the Calhoun's lawsuit and cannot comment upon it, a DirecTV spokesperson stated that "DirecTV takes its obligations under the TCPA very seriously and complies with the national Do Not Call list as well as requests to be placed on our internal Do Not Call list."

The spokesperson said DirecTV does not send automated messages to persons with whom it does not have a business relationship.

"Sometimes, unscrupulous third parties make calls and mislead customers into thinking the calls are placed by DirecTV," he said. "We vigorously research such situations to protect our name and reputation from being tarnished by the unauthorized acts of others."

Athens attorneys Jeffrey L. Weinstein, James H. Owen and Bonner C. Walsh are representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward will preside over the litigation.

Case No 2:2009cv00055

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