North Carolina Department of Justice
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Blue Cross Blue Shield agrees to stop improper automated calls, pay fine

Release date: 1/28/2010

Robo callers must play by the rules, Attorney General Cooper says

Raleigh: Blue Cross Blue Shield has agreed to stop making improper robo calls and pay the state of North Carolina $95,000 for a series of calls made in 2009, according to a settlement signed late Wednesday.
The company commissioned robo calls to 100,000 North Carolina residents in October without following state law, which mandates that a live operator announce the automated message and give recipients the chance to refuse the call.
“No one in North Carolina should have to endure unwanted robo calls that tie up phone lines and disturb their peace and quiet,” Attorney General Roy Cooper said. “People have had enough of answering their phones and hearing a recorded message.”
Robo calls are automatically-dialed, pre-recorded telemarketing calls.
The settlement is the result of complaints filed with the Attorney General in October after a series of automated dialer telephone calls made by vendor Campaign Connections on Blue Cross’s behalf to North Carolina residents. When contacted by the Attorney General’s consumer protection lawyers, Blue Cross agreed not to resume the calls.
Blue Cross was not allowed to make the legislatively exempt robo calls because it was not a tax-exempt organization, Cooper maintained. And while the General Assembly exempted some automated calls for health care and insurance purposes, those calls may be made only to certain people, such as those who have business with the company.
The company has agreed to follow the law and adopt policies guiding its vendors to do the same, according to the agreement. It has paid $95,000 in penalties, which will go to the public schools in North Carolina.

  Contact:  Noelle Talley, (919) 716-6484