Plaintiffs attempting to hold hotels vicariously liable for telemarketing calls placed by another company selling timeshares have failed in their efforts.
VIP Travel Services and United Shuttle Alliance Transportation Corp., known collectively as USA, had allegedly placed several dozen calls to the plaintiffs, telling them they had won a Disney vacation and directing them to book at a list of hotels that included those of the defendants. The plaintiffs were required to attend a time-share sales presentation about owning property at the resort where they booked.
While the plaintiffs argued that the hotels should be held vicariously liable under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) for the calls made by USA, a Michigan federal judge dismissed their claims earlier this month, saying that even if USA’s prohibited calls were targeted to sell products or services offered by the hotels in USA’s list, the court could not reasonably infer that the hotels were vicariously liable.
Takeaway: Even though the hotels were not held vicariously liable in this case, there are many cases in which companies have been held vicariously liable for violating the TCPA because they directed another party to make calls on the company’s behalf, and those calls did not comply with the law. Advertisers should take caution when vetting their vendors to ensure they have stringent TCPA compliance programs.