02/26/2007 BASKING RIDGE, NJ ? Verizon Wireless today announced that it has obtained a permanent injunction and default judgment in one of its lawsuits against wireless spam, bringing the case to its conclusion. The default judgment prohibits Specialized Programming and Marketing LLC and its owner, Charles Henderson, from sending further spam to Verizon Wireless customers and requires them to pay damages in excess of $200,000. Specialized and Henderson sent nearly 100,000 unsolicited text messages to Verizon Wireless customers offering them a prize vacation.
?Text messaging is a great and increasingly popular way to communicate, but unwanted or unsolicited text message spam to our customers? handsets is unacceptable,? said Steve Zipperstein, Verizon Wireless, vice president of legal and external affairs. ?We have a long track record of protecting our customers? privacy, including through lawsuits, and will continue to do so.?
Verizon Wireless initially filed the suit against Passport Holidays in October 2005 in U.S. District Court in Trenton, N.J., alleging that the Florida-based company arranged and coordinated the sending of the text messages to Verizon Wireless customers, urging them to take action to claim a Bahamas cruise prize. In February 2006, Verizon Wireless filed an amended complaint, after officials from Passport Holidays named Specialized Programming and Marketing LLC and Henderson as the company and individual that sent out the spam messages that formed the basis for the suit.
A permanent injunction against further spamming by Passport Holidays was entered in February 2006 as the result of a settlement between Verizon Wireless and Passport Holidays. The settlement also required Passport to pay $10,000, which Verizon Wireless then donated to the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Companies and individuals who send unsolicited text message spam to wireless phones violate the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act by using ?auto-dialing? equipment to send large bursts of text messages to sequential phone numbers within very short periods of time. Additionally, these spammers often use deceptive means to hide the identity of the party sending the spam messages and to avoid filters that Verizon Wireless employs to prevent spam from reaching its customers.