VS Pharmacy has agreed to shell out $15 million to settle a class action suit against the Rhode Island-based corporation.
The proposed settlement comes five years after CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic were accused of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by making automated telephone calls to landlines and cell phones soliciting the sale of flu shots.
According to the 22-page class action lawsuit out of the Northern District of Illinois, CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic used a machine that could generate and dial random telephone numbers to play a recorded discount coupon and flu shot message to non-consenting parties.
These calls, originating from Illinois, “did not use live voice interaction, but instead they were either produced by a computer or recorded by a voice actor prior to the call,” the suit says.
“These prerecorded messages advertised the commercial sale of products and services available through CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic,” states the suit.
The lawsuit claims CVS knew that the use of autodialers and prerecorded messages without the consumer’s consent violated the TCPA laws but went ahead with it anyway.
Scores of people, the suit says, were called more than once.
Carl Lowe, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, claims he received multiple robocalls that were intended for a customer by the name of Anna. Lowe contacted his local CVS Pharmacy to tell them they had the wrong person and to stop calling him.
Nonetheless, Lowe continued to receive robocalls from CVS, using up his cellular airtime minutes, the case says.
Lowe’s “privacy was wrongfully invaded, and plaintiff has become aggravated with having to deal with the frustration of repeated, unwanted phone calls using up time on his cell phone and forcing him to divert attention away from his business and other activities,” the lawsuit says.
Kearby Kaiser, another class member of the lawsuit, claims CVS “manipulated” the call by having it come across as “unknown caller” rather than the corporation’s name.
The suit claims the calls were in violation of the TCPA, which was put in place to combat these unsolicited robocalls and aggressive telemarketing practices. Due to their conduct, the lawsuit says, class members should be compensated $500 for each phone call.
The lawsuit represents a class of people estimated to be in the tens of thousands. CVS has agreed to set up a settlement fund of $15 million to compensate affected consumers nationwide, states a recent legal notice.
Still, CVS and MinuteClinic, a limited liability company out of Delaware, denies any wrongdoing. A hearing on whether the final settlement will be approved is to be held on Jan. 30, 2020 in the Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse.
Class members of the lawsuit are being represented by Alexander Burke with the Burke Law Offices.