Teladoc hit with lawsuit for alleged robocalls marketing telehealth subscriptions

Medical justice
A lawsuit filed against Teladoc accuses the company of engaging a third party to sell telehealth subscriptions to customers without their consent. (Getty/yavdat)

A lawsuit filed against Teladoc accuses the company of engaging a third party to sell telehealth subscriptions to consumers without their consent.

April Hale and Len Cline filed suit July 8 in the Southern District of New York accusing the telehealth provider of hiring Health Insurance Innovations to make unsolicited calls to consumers to sell telehealth subscriptions. The plaintiffs argue that this violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

That law prohibits auto-dialed and unsolicited prerecorded telephone calls to cellular telephones and unsolicited calls to telephone numbers registered on the National Do Not Call registry.

Teladoc partnered with the call center to sell its $29.99 monthly membership packages. Both companies would share in the profit from sales, according to the lawsuit.

When contacted for comment, a spokeswoman for Teladoc said the company does not comment on ongoing litigation.

Hale alleges she received at least 25 robocalls from the companies, even though her mobile phone is registered on the National Do Not Call register. Hale also said she opted out from receiving additional calls numerous times, but Health Insurance Innovations continued to call her, according to the lawsuit.

Cline also said he received at least eight robocalls on his mobile phone, which is also on the Do Not Call registry.

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When Health Insurance Innovations would speak with a consumer, they would attempt to sell them health insurance products, including the $29.99 monthly telehealth subscription with Teladoc.

The plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief from the calls and statutory damages and argued that they are entitled to $1,500 per violation of the TCPA law.

The plaintiffs are also seeking an order that would require Teladoc to give up any profits gained from the scheme.

The company Teladoc contracted with has already been sued 10 times specifically for TCPA violations, according to the lawsuit.

Multiple states have filed cease-and -desist orders against the telemarketer including Montana, Michigan and Arkansas, the lawsuit alleges.

Health Insurance Innovations and its subsidiary Health Plan Intermediaries Holdings reached a settlement agreement in 2019 with 43 states related to a multistate market conduct examination.

As part of the settlement, the company agreed to pay $3.4 million to the settling jurisdictions.

"Teladoc knew or should have known about the allegations of its telemarketing partner before and during the partnership with Health Insurance Innovations," the plaintiffs argue in the lawsuit.

The Federal Communications Commission revised its order on robocalls in 2012 to require telemarketers to get prior express written consent from consumers before robocalling them.

The TCPA also restricts the use of automatic telephone dialing systems and artificial or prerecorded voice messages, which Health Insurance Innovations used, the plaintiffs argue.