Robocall lawsuits have resulted in a wide variety of verdicts and settlements, and some have been quite large. Judges have awarded as much as $1 million to a single family for annoying calls. Others, however, have received less than $10 or free services to make up for their trouble.
It’s important to understand your rights under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and keep track of the telemarketing calls you get that violate that law when considering a robocall lawsuit.
Who Can File Robocall Lawsuits?
If you have received multiple robocalls, even though you’ve asked a company to stop calling, you may have legal rights to a lawsuit under the Telephone Consumer Product Act.
Not all robocalls and telemarketing calls are illegal. Political campaigns, certain health care providers, charities and companies you’ve given permission to call you are allowed to make them.
But you do have certain protections guaranteed under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA. These protections make specific actions illegal for telemarketers and robocallers.
What Robocallers & Telemarketers Are Not Allowed to Do
- No calls to your house before 8 am or after 9 pm
- Must not call anyone on the National Do Not Call Registry
- Company calling must keep its own do not call list of all people who specifically ask not to be called again
- Cannot use robocalls to contact you without your permission
- Are not allowed to call your cell phone without your permission
If a telemarketer or robocaller breaks any of these rules, you may be able to file a lawsuit.
How to File a Robocall Lawsuit
To file a robocall lawsuit, you must have received unwanted phone calls from an automated phone system. These calls rely on autodialers which use software or hardware that automatically dials numbers without human help.
Robocalls may use pre-recorded messages or connect you with a live, human voice. Either way, the TCPA bans companies from using autodialers to call you unless you’ve given the company permission.
Agreements you sign or accept can sometimes include granting permission for companies to call you. Before buying or subscribing to something, be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully.
Because most legitimate companies follow the law, most robocalls you receive are likely scams. However, it can be difficult to find robocallers behind fraud and scam calls, making it difficult to file a lawsuit against them. Most successful robocall lawsuits have been against legitimate companies that failed to follow the TCPA rules.
Robocall Lawsuits and Settlements
Dish Network made more than 65 million robocalls over a two-year period to people who were on the National Do Not Call Registry. The calls resulted in two of the largest verdicts ever recorded in robocall lawsuits.
In 2017, a court ordered Dish to pay the federal government and four states a total of $280 million in penalties and blocked the company from making more illegal calls.
Dish was also ordered to pay $61 million in a separate class action lawsuit. The lawsuit targeted 50,000 robocalls from the company to 18,000 consumers. The judgment in that case required the company to shell out $1,200 for each call it made to people on the do not call list. Some callers were eligible for as much as $18,000.
Dish appealed the $61 million verdict to the U.S. Supreme Court in October 2019.
Couple Won $1 Million Suit Over Bank Robocalls
A Florida couple that received 700 loan collection robocalls won a $1 million lawsuit against Bank of America in 2014. The verdict amounted to roughly $1,500 for every call the bank made to the couple.
The bank claimed Nelson and Joyce Coniglio fell behind on mortgage payments in 2009, right after the start of the Great Recession. The couple said they received as many as 5 debt collection calls a day for four years demanding they settle up.
The bank claimed the calls were not meant to harass the couple, but were to help them with plans to avoid foreclosure. A Bank of America spokesman told ABC News at the time that the calls continued because the couple never answered any of them.
Other Large TPCA Lawsuit Settlements and Verdicts
While Robocaller settlements and verdicts can be large, different courts may put different values on calls in different cases. That can cause the value of each call to vary widely — from as little as $7 per call to as much as $1,500, based on previous decisions and settlements.
- $56 to $76 million settlement
- Caribbean Cruise Line, Vacation Ownership Marketing Tours, and The Berkeley Group agreed to a settlement over millions of robocalls the companies placed between August 2011 and August 2012 in violation of the TCPA. People were entitled to $500 for each robocall they received.
- $35 million settlement
- Sirius XM Radio agreed to settle class action lawsuit claims that it robocalled people in violation of TCPA limits. The company agreed to provide consumers with one of two payment options. One was free access to 3 months of the company’s All Access Subscription Package. The other was a payment of approximately $12.
- $32 million settlement
- Bank of America agreed to a robocall settlement in a class action lawsuit with 7.7 million consumers. The bank denied any wrongdoing and said it only settled to avoid further legal costs.
- $28 million settlement
- Monitronics International, a security alarm monitoring service and subsidiary of Brinks Home Security, agreed in 2017 to settle a mass litigation. A federal mass litigation included 38 individual lawsuits at one time. The company had been accused of making calls to people on the National Do Not Call Registry.
- $21.5 million settlement
- Ocwen Loan Servicing contracted with three large banks to make mortgage collections. But Ocwen was accused of calls violating the TCPA. The settlement was approved in November 2019. Consumers called by Ocwen may be reimbursed at between $7.41 and $8.42 for each call they received. The court estimated the average consumer who received calls would collect about $22.17.
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