Michigan AG Files Suit Against Company That Allegedly Made 25 Billion Robocalls

By Kyle Kaminski

May 24, 2023

Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a lawsuit against an Arizona company that is accused of initiating and facilitating billions of illegal robocalls—including about 200 million calls in Michigan.

LANSING—Tired of hearing about your car’s extended warranty?

So are Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and a coalition of attorneys general from 47 other states and Washington DC. And this week, they’re bringing the issue into a courtroom.

Nessel on Tuesday announced a federal, multi-state lawsuit against Arizona-based Avid Telecom and its top executives for allegedly initiating and facilitating about 7.5 billion automated spam phone calls to numbers listed on the national “Do Not Call” registry over the last six years.

All told, the company is accused of making about 200 million phone calls to Michigan residents.

“In 2021, Michigan residents received more than 1.2 billion robocalls, about 500 million of which were scam robocalls,” Nessel said in a statement. “This lawsuit will hold accountable businesses and business owners who knowingly route illegal robocalls through their networks, as well as provide consumers with some relief from these intrusive calls.”

The lawsuit accuses Avid Telecom and its owner Michael Lansky of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and other consumer protection laws designed to prevent scammers from dialing numbers on the national “Do Not Call” registry.

State officials said the company is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider that sells data, phone numbers, dialing software and other expertise to help its customers make robocalls.

Nessel blamed the company for serving as an intermediary that routed illegal calls across the country—more than 90% of which lasted less than 15 seconds, indicating they were robocalls. Avid also allegedly helped make hundreds of millions of calls using spoofed caller ID numbers to make them appear as if they came from government or law enforcement agencies, Nessel said.

The lawsuit also blames Avid Telecom for a litany of calls that have perpetuated Social Security and Medicare scams, as well as fake calls related to auto warranties, Amazon deliveries, DirecTV service, credit card interest rate reduction programs and employment-related scams.

State officials said Avid Telecom received more than 300 warnings about the suspected robocall activity from its customers, yet still allowed the calls to be transmitted nationwide—including from one Texas-based company that allegedly made 4 billion calls between 2019 and 2021.

This week’s lawsuit—which has support from every state in the country except Alaska and South Dakota—is a result of the national Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force, which was formed last year to investigate and take action against telecom companies allegedly responsible for robocalls.

Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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