Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced a lawsuit against Darren C. Sizemore for sending unsolicited text messages to hundreds of thousands of consumers without their permission.
“Current technology makes it easy for businesses or individuals to bombard consumers with unsolicited text messages,” DeWine said. “But state and federal law restrict these practices, and it’s unacceptable for individuals to break the law for their own personal gain.”
According to the lawsuit, Darren C. Sizemore of Wellington, used an automatic telephone dialing system (or auto dialer) to send unsolicited text messages to consumers nationwide. The messages instructed recipients to visit certain websites to claim free prizes or gifts, such as iPads or iPhones, and Sizemore received compensation from third parties for driving traffic to their websites.
To receive the gifts, consumers were asked to provide personal information or to sign up for trial offers that required upfront payments or enrollment in ongoing membership programs. These requirements to claim the gifts were not disclosed in the initial text message as required by state law.
At times, text messages were sent repeatedly to the same cell phone number, and many consumers who received the messages had registered their numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit charges Sizemore with violations of the Consumer Sales Practices Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. In the lawsuit, the Attorney General seeks damages, an injunction to stop further violations, and civil penalties.
Attorney General DeWine reminds consumers:
Companies must obtain your written consent before sending text messages to your cell phone using an auto dialer.
Never respond to unsolicited text messages, even if the message includes the name of a well-known organization or store.
If you’re interested in the content of a text message, rather than clicking on links displayed in the message, visit the organization’s or store’s website directly.
You can register your cell phone number and your landline with the Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov or 888-382-1222. Call from the number you want to register.
Consumers who believe they have been treated unfairly should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.
Editor’s note: Darren C. Sizemore is not affiliated with the business entity Sizemore Investments LLC that is registered with the Ohio Secretary of State.