To cover my bases everything you are about to read is allegations contained in a new federal lawsuit. I am reporting what the lawsuit says and that’s it. Read the Cohen complaint to learn more.
This is a really interesting one folks.
A nonagenarian in Florida claims that he was harassed and duped by illegal telemarketing calls from conservative media outlet Newsmax as part of a plan to “target senior citizens, like Plaintiff, in its telemarketing campaigns and place repeated calls to them” in a bid to sign them up for magazine subscriptions they do not actually ask for. This according to a complaint filed in federal court yesterday.
In the complaint–which can be found here Cohen complaint— the consumer (90+ year old Bernard Cohen) claims Newsmax placed multiple unsolicited marketing calls to his cell phone, despite the fact that his phone number is registered on the national DNC list.
Making matters worse, the Complaint alleges that Newsmax charged him over $1,500.00 for magazine subscriptions he did not actually ask for in 2019 alone:
“The Defendant charged his credit card $1,518.85. Many of these subscriptions were for publications that Mr. Cohen never authorized, did not want, or already had subscriptions to.”
And Newsmax’ conduct–which the Plaintiff characterizes as “fraudulent” and “predatory”– continued into 2021 resulting in thousands of additional dollars in magazine subscriptions:
In a period of less than two years – from May 2019 through February 2021 – Newsmax telephoned Mr. Cohen dozens of times, and charged his credit card or debit card 49 times totaling $4,595.70
The complaint also alleges that Newsmax representatives lied to a care worker who was assisting Mr. Cohen to recover some of the money spent on subscriptions. Newsmax also apparently claimed that Mr. Cohen ordered the magazines online although, according to the complaint, Mr. Cohen does not own a computer, does not have internet service in his home, does not have an internet-enabled phone and does not know how to text or use voicemail on his phone.
It remains to be seen whether any of these allegations have any merit.
The Plaintiff seeks to represent a class of:
Do Not Call Registry Class: All persons in the United States who from four years prior to the filing of this action (1) were called by or on behalf of Defendant; (2) more than one time within any 12-month period; (3) where the person’s telephone number had been listed on the National Do Not Call Registry for at least thirty days; (4) for the purpose of selling Defendant’s products and/or services; and (5) for whom Defendant claims (a) it did not obtain prior express written consent, or (b) it obtained prior express written consent in the same manner as Defendant claims it supposedly obtained prior express written consent to call the Plaintiff.
If these allegations turn out to be true this is a really big deal. Allegations regarding the use of illegal telemarketing practices to trick seniors into buying magazines and then lying about it afterward is… not a good look for Newsmax.
But notice how the only claim asserted in this complaint is the TCPA.
That’s how powerful this statute is. Even in a complaint riddled with claims of abuse, fraud and predatory behavior it is the violation of the TCPA’s DNC rules that drive the Plaintiff’s bar to file suits.
This one is really interesting and we’ll keep an eye on it. If you have a contact at Newsmax let me know because I’d love to get their side of this one.