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How Annoying Can Yahoo! Be?

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - Yahoo! refuses to stop spamming people who get wireless phone numbers from previous customers, sending 4,700 useless messages to one man alone, he claims in a class action.

Lead plaintiff Bill H. Dominguez sued Yahoo! in Federal Court.

When he complained, he says, Yahoo! told him it wouldn't cancel the spam deluge without a request from its previous customer - whom Dominguez never met and has no way of contacting.

He wants statutory damages of $500 for each violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and treble damages, which would come to more than $7 million.

Yahoo! offers its customers free email and text message alerts, and "is aware that 'it is possible for users who purchase new phones to receive alerts that the previous owner had subscribed to ... [because] ... phone companies recycle phone numbers,'" Dominguez says in the complaint.

"Despite this knowledge, defendant does not have an effective method for stopping Mail Alerts from being sent to the cellular phones of new owners who have not consented to receipt of such messages when the phone companies recycle a phone number."

Dominguez claims he bought a phone in December 2011 and was assigned a phone number that "had been previously held by a Jose Gonzalez. Plaintiff has never met Jose Gonzalez and has no knowledge concerning his whereabouts.

"Shortly after purchasing his new phone, plaintiff began receiving unsolicited text messages from defendant Yahoo! advising him that he had received an e-mail.

"Plaintiff never consented to the receipt of the text messages sent by defendant.

"The unsolicited text messages were in SMS text messages and were sent to plaintiff's new telephone by means of a device that made automated telephone calls. This device could send and did send dozens of messages per day to plaintiff's telephone. ...

"By March 2012, plaintiff was receiving approximately 50 to 60 unsolicited text messages from defendant every day, and at all times of day and night."

When he called Yahoo! to complain, Dominguez says, he was told "there was nothing that could be done to stop the texts unless the former owner of the telephone number accessed the password-protected account and authorized Yahoo! to stop the messages."

"Plaintiff asked the representative to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor, who identified himself as Castro, told plaintiff the same thing - that the unsolicited text messages would only stop if the former owner of the account so authorized. Plaintiff did not know the whereabouts of the former owner of the telephone number, and suggested that litigation might be his only option. Castro replied 'so sue me.'"

So he did.

Dominguez claims he filed complaints with the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, but "despite all his efforts, plaintiff has not been successful in stopping the unsolicited text messages sent to him daily by Yahoo!"

"During the months of November 2012 through approximately April 5, 2013, defendant sent in excess of 4,700 unsolicited text messages to plaintiff."

Dominguez is represented by James Francis with Francis and Mailman in Philadelphia.

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