A federal court recently rejected Alarm.com’s efforts to have claims against it dismissed in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) lawsuit. The TCPA lawsuit against Alarm.com seeks redress for alleged aggravation and intrusion of privacy resulting from the receipt of more than 75 Alarm.com product-related calls.
What were the allegations contained in the Alarm.com TCPA lawsuit?
The plaintiff alleged that she received calls from a variety of third party dealers attempting to sell her an Alarm.com wireless home security system. She further alleged that: (1) the calls were placed without her prior express consent; (2) the calls included prerecorded messages; (3) the calls were received despite the fact that she had placed her number on the Do-Not-Call Registry; and (4) the calls persisted even after she informed several representatives not to call her again. Importantly, however, the plaintiff acknowledged that she never received calls directly from Alarm.com. Nevertheless, she alleged that Alarm.com was liable for the alleged TCPA violations by virtue of its retaining the contractual right to discipline, and terminate its relationship with, the respective third-party dealers. Alarm.com moved the court to dismiss the claims against it because the plaintiff had failed to allege sufficient facts to claim that Alarm.com was liable for the conduct of the subject telemarketers. In rejecting this argument, however, the Court held that advertisers may be held vicariously liable for the TCPA-violative acts of their agents.
Protect Yourself Against TCPA Lawsuits
As this TCPA lawsuit demonstrates, it is critical for businesses to understand the scope of the TCPA and its implementing regulations. Alarm.com sought to distance itself from liability for the alleged TCPA violations because it did not place the subject phone calls itself. However, the court was not persuaded and explained that liability will extend to sellers when they are able to exercise a degree of control over the entities placing calls on their behalf. Given the staggering exposure to liability that companies face in today’s TCPA-regulatory environment, it is imperative to have telemarketing practices and procedures examined by experienced counsel in order to mitigate risk.