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.
26 Cited Research Articles
Consumernotice.org adheres to the highest ethical standards for content production and references only credible sources of information, including government reports, interviews with experts, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, peer-reviewed journals, court records and academic organizations. You can learn more about our dedication to relevance, accuracy and transparency by reading our editorial policy.
- AT&T. (n.d.). Robocalls and Unwanted Calls. Retrieved from https://about.att.com/pages/cyberaware/ae/robocall
- Cahn, L. (n.d.). Here’s the Truth About the National Do Not Call List. Reader’s Digest. Retrieved from https://www.rd.com/list/truth-about-do-not-call-list/
- CBS News. (2018, May 7). Are You Owed $1,200? Maybe, If You Got a Dish Network Telemarketing Call. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/dish-network-do-not-call-lawsuit-eligible-to-collect-1200-per-call/
- Cipriani, J. (2019, December 12). Tired of annoying and intrusive spam calls? Here's how to keep robocalls at a minimum. CNET. Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/tech/mobile/tired-of-annoying-and-intrusive-spam-calls-heres-how-to-keep-robocalls-at-a-minimum/
- Conkle, B. & Wingfield, A.D. (2019, March 26). Auto Finance Company Agrees to $4M TCPA Class Settlement in “Wrong Number” Case. Troutman Sanders. Retrieved from https://www.consumerfinancialserviceslawmonitor.com/2019/03/auto-finance-company-agrees-to-4m-tcpa-class-settlement-in-wrong-number-case/#page=1
- Cullen, A. (2019, October 18). Dish Takes $61M Telemarketing Verdict to High Court. Law360. Retrieved from https://www.law360.com/articles/1210858/dish-takes-61m-telemarketing-verdict-to-high-court
- Dreid, N. (2018). Dish Not Covered for $280M Robocall Verdict, Insurer Says. Law360. Retrieved from https://www.law360.com/articles/1105697/dish-not-covered-for-280m-robocall-verdict-insurer-says
- Graf, R. (2017, August 14). Uber to Pay $20M to End TCPA Suit Over Text Messages. Law360. Retrieved from https://www.law360.com/articles/953670/uber-to-pay-20m-to-end-tcpa-suit-over-text-messages
- Grande, A. (2019, April 4). Monitronics Loses Bid to Hang Up on Robocall MDL. Law360. Retrieved from https://www.law360.com/articles/1146372/monitronics-loses-bid-to-hang-up-on-robocall-mdl
- Haq, H. (2015, July 8). Judge Awards $229,500 for Robocall Harassment. Should You Sue? CS Monitor. Retrieved from https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/USA-Update/2015/0708/Judge-awards-229-500-for-robocall-harassment.-Should-you-sue
- Henschel, H. (2019, September 10). 7 of the Best Robocall Blocking Apps and Tools for Avoiding Phone Spam. Mashable. Retrieved from https://mashable.com/roundup/best-robocall-blocking-apps
- King, K. and Whinnery, K. (n.d.). TCPA. Twilio. Retrieved from https://www.twilio.com/docs/glossary/what-is-telephone-consumer-protection-act-tcpa
- Knaub, K. (2017, June 5) Dish Hit with $280M Penalty in TCPA Suit by Feds, States. Law360. Retrieved from https://www.law360.com/articles/931421
- Min, S. (2019, November 18). A Record 5.7 Billion Robocalls in October Alone. CBS News. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/robocalls-hit-a-record-high-in-october/
- RoboKiller. (2018, October 18). Can I Sue a Telemarketer? Read This Before You File a Robocall Lawsuit. Retrieved from https://www.robokiller.com/blog/how-to-sue-a-robocaller/
- Ross, B., Zimmermann, S., and Kreider, R. (2014, December 11). Couple Wins $1M Suit Against Major Bank for ‘Outrageous’ Robocall Harassment. ABC News. Retrieved from https://abcnews.go.com/US/couple-wins-1m-suit-major-bank-outrageous-robocall/story?id=27542208
- Sirius XM DNC Settlement. (n.d.). Buchanan v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc. Class Action Settlement Website. Retrieved from https://siriusxmdnctcpasettlement.com/
- U.S. District Court, Eastern Dist. of Pennsylvania. (2019, May 9). Ward v. Flagship Credit Acceptance LLC; Memorandum and Order Re: Class Action Settlement. Case No. 2:17-cv-02069. Retrieved from http://www.pacer.gov
- U.S. District Court, Northern Dist. of Illinois. (n.d.). Kaiser-Nyman v. First Choice Payment Solutions G.P. d/b/a Sekure Merchant Solutions. Retrieved from http://www.sekuretcpasettlement.com/
- U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. (2016, March). FDIC Consumer Compliance Examination Manual; VIII. Privacy — Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Retrieved from https://www.fdic.gov/resources/supervision-and-examinations/consumer-compliance-examination-manual/documents/8/viii-5-1.pdf
- U.S. Federal Trade Commission. (2019, June). Robocalls. Retrieved from https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/robocalls
- Verizon. (n.d.). Helping Our Customers Block Robocalls. Retrieved from https://www.verizon.com/about/responsibility/robocalls
- Weisbaum, H. (2017, January 17). How You Could Get $500 per Call for Those Unwanted Messages Six Years Ago. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/how-you-could-get-500-call-those-unwanted-messages-six-n707651
- Whitney, L. (2019, November 2). How to Block Robocalls and Spam Calls. PC Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/how-to-block-robocalls-and-spam-calls
- Wood, L. (2019, July 15). Banks Can’t Duck Robocall Liability With Earlier TCPA Deal. Law360. Retrieved from https://www.law360.com/articles/1178242/banks-can-t-duck-robocall-liability-with-earlier-tcpa-deal
- Wood, L. (2019, October 30). Cruise Lines Ink $12.5M Deal Over Agency’s Marketing Calls. Law360. Retrieved from https://www.law360.com/articles/1215103/cruise-lines-ink-12-5m-deal-over-agency-s-marketing-calls