Judge: Bother Telemarketers 'While They Eat Dinner'

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When a Texas couple accused of telemarketing law violations in a civil trial failed to show up for their court hearing, a county judge ordered them to give out their first and last names and home telephone number in all future calls.


Judge Gary Michael Block of Harris County Civil Court in Houston also ordered Howard Holland and Jamie Lynn Gobal-Holland to pay an $87,000 penalty. In his written ruling, Block said he issued the unusual order so that "the recipients of the Hollands' telemarketing calls can disturb them, while they eat dinner."


The order resulted from a lawsuit filed by Joe Shields, a Texas privacy advocate who has sued numerous telemarketers and claims that his legal efforts have terminated "over 1 million unlawful prerecorded telephone solicitations." According to the lawsuit, the Hollands, who did business as Market Your Way, Houston, made three prerecorded telemarketing calls to Shields' residence without prior consent or an established business relationship.


Shields said he planned to return to court to have their automated dialer seized but probably would not get the money. His main objective was to get the Hollands to cease their violations, he said.


As for the unusual disclosure requirements, Shields said he had not requested those from the judge, who acted on his own. Shields said he didn't know whether those requirements could be upheld on appeal but that he would support them.


"I believe Judge Block understands the frustration of receiving telemarketing calls that fail to provide the required identification," Shields said. "Judge Block wants telemarketers to be more responsible in identification of the caller."


No listing for the Hollands or their business in Houston could be found. A search of registered corporations in Texas found no record of a company called Market Your Way.


Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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