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Class Action Complaint Alleges Aetna Text Messages ‘Intrusive,’ in Violation of TCPA

A cell phone reciving a call from an unknown number.

Phone call from unknown number late at night. Scam, fraud or phishing with smartphone concept. Prank caller, scammer or stranger. Man answering to incoming call. Hoax person with fake identity.

On Wednesday in the Northern District of Illinois, a class-action complaint was filed against Aetna Better Health of Illinois. The lead plaintiff alleged that she received unsolicited text messages from the defendant, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

The plaintiff received a text message from Aetna on Dec. 21, 2020, stating: “Hi, starting 12/01/20, you are now a member of Aetna Better Health of Illinois,” followed by a link to Aetna’s website. The message ended with “Not a member of ABHIL? Text WRONG,” the complaint shows.

However, the plaintiff was not insured by Aetna, so this message was confusing to her. She received additional messages on Dec. 23 and Dec. 28, 2020, after which she replied, “Stop,” according to the complaint. Aetna replied with “Messages about Branding have been stopped. Other important health and benefit messages still may be sent.” The plaintiff claimed to have received another generic message from Aetna on Jan. 14.

The complaint calls the defendant’s text messages “highly intrusive” and “a nuisance” given that the plaintiff is not insured by Aetna, especially “considering they continued after Plaintiff requested that the text messages cease” and because she never provided her phone number to the defendant or consented to receive text messages. The plaintiff purported that her privacy has been invaded and that she has been caused actual harm from receiving the unwanted messages.

The TCPA prohibits the use of an automatic telephone system (ATDS) without receiving the consent of the recipient, the complaint notes; the filing alleges that an ATDS was used to randomly generate her cell phone number, in violation of the TCPA.

The proposed class includes Illinois residents who are not insured by the defendant but who received text messages without giving consent from four years before the date of this complaint through the date of class certification.

Requests by the plaintiff include an order certifying the putative class, an order prohibiting the defendant from continuing to send the alleged violating text messages, monetary relief, and other just and proper relief.

The plaintiff is represented by Sulaiman Law Group Ltd.

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