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Ashland man takes on telemarketers

An unemployed Ashland man has filed a lawsuit against Arizona companies who left him multiple auto-dialed recorded messages for employment websites, despite his registry on the Do Not Call list.

Jeff Madsen of the 1000 block of Pleasant Way filed a complaint Thursday against Vibrant Web, VW Hosting Service and Explosive Hosting, all based in Phoenix, Ariz., alleging the companies violated federal telemarketing laws and Oregon consumer protection laws, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Medford. 

Madsen is seeking nearly $10,000 in damages plus costs in the suit, alleging the companies were responsible for three prerecorded phone messages left on his mobile phone between April 19 and May 4, which he described as willful noncompliance, according to the complaint.

The recorded phone messages direct the caller to a "work from home" marketing website hosted by the companies that deceptively implies the company is affiliated with Facebook and is offering a job. Madsen cites printouts of a scam-awareness site and a Better Business Bureau "F" rating issued for Vibrant Web in his claims of deceptive practices.

"Instead of a job offer, the intent is to get a prospective client to sign up for their website creation and hosting and marketing scheme that can run into the thousands of dollars for highly inflated Wordpress websites and marketing," Madsen's complaint says.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke authorized Madsen's suit to move forward without filing fees Monday on grounds that Madsen is unable to afford costs associated with the suit. Madsen had applied to submit the complaint "In Forma Pauperis," without prepaying fees, on grounds that he is not employed. He last worked at D&S Harley Davidson in September 2013, the application says.

A call to Madsen at the number listed in the complaint was not returned.

Madsen is seeking a jury trial with damages estimated at $9,500. Broken down as three "intentional" violations of the National Do Not Call List, Madsen seeks $1,500 for each violation, plus a $5,000 civil penalty for deceptive business practices.

The suit also names Arizona individuals Justin Murray and James Arteca, officers of VW Hosting Service and Vibrant Web; Justin Behnke, an officer of VW Hosting Service, Vibrant Web and Explosive Hosting; and Caitlin Kirlin, an officer of Explosive Hosting.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.