Teladoc faces lawsuit over robocalls

Plaintiffs allege that the telehealth giant contracted with a third-party telemarketer that violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
By Kat Jercich
12:47 PM

The telehealth giant Teladoc has been sued in the Southern District of New York over allegedly making robocalls to consumers through a marketing partner.

April Hale, of Merkel, Texas, and Len Cline, of Satsuma, Florida, filed a class-action complaint against Teladoc on July 8, accusing the company of contracting with Health Insurance Innovations to sell insurance products on its behalf. In doing so, Hale and Cline allege, HII called consumers without their consent in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

"Defendant Teladoc’s telemarketing scheme entails hiring HII to make the calls directly (or have HII contract with lead generators) to make outbound calls to potential consumers and to contractually bind those consumers directly to Defendant Teladoc," according to the complaint. "A consumer will then directly pay Teladoc a monthly membership fee of $29.99 for Teladoc’s service." HII and Teladoc would share the profits, say the plaintiffs.

Hale claims in the lawsuit that she received at least 25 autodialed cell phone calls, despite being registered on the National Do Not Call Registry; Cline says he received at least eight. Both Hale and Cline say they opted out of receiving additional calls multiple times, but HII or its agents continued to call them. 

Hale and Cline point to HII's previous record in court, saying that Teladoc should have known about the allegations against the telemarketing company.

"By the time Plaintiff Hale and Plaintiff Cline received calls by HII or its HII’s lead generators in March 2019, HII had already been sued specifically for Telephone Consumer Protection Act violations approximately 10 times," according to the complaint. "Despite these other prior TCPA lawsuits and the multiple state investigations and litigation, Defendant Teladoc chose to contract with HII to sell their products and services on their behalf." 

The plaintiffs argue that Teladoc should have ensured HII and its affiliates were abiding by the TCPA and do-not-call laws, since they were calling on the telehealth company's behalf.

Hale and Cline are seeking injunctive relief requiring Teladoc to stop robocalling consumers without their consent via third-party telemarketers and to stop calling numbers registered on the do-not-call list. They also argue that they and other members of the Prerecorded No Consent Class are each entitled to a minimum of $500 in damages, and up to $1,500 in damages, for each violation of the TCPA. 

Teladoc told Healthcare IT News that it could not comment on ongoing litigation.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of Teladoc's announcement that it had finalized its acquisition of InTouch Health on July 1, allowing it to expand its offerings to InTouch Health's client base of more than 450 hospitals. The company's stock price has more than doubled since the beginning of the year. 

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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