Time Warner Cable Violates TCPA, Ordered to Pay for Excessive Robocalls
In a recent decision reached in federal court, judgment was entered against Time Warner Cable in the amount of $229,500, after a finding that the company’s excessive robocalls to a consumer violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The plaintiff, Araceli King, received 153 telephone calls from the cable company to her cell phone. Time Warner claimed that it was not liable because the calls were intended for the phone number’s previous owner and not meant for King at all. The court found this unpersuasive, noting that King had made it clear during a seven minute phone conversation with Time Warner that she was not who Time Warner was trying to reach and she did not want to receive any more calls. Despite this, Time Warner continued to call and even placed 74 calls after King brought the lawsuit against the company. The judge ruled because Time Warner acted “knowingly and willfully” that the statutory violation amount of $500 was to be tripled to $1,500 per call, bringing the total amount owed to King to $229,500. The case is King v. Time Warner Cable, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-02018.
Know Your Rights Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
What is a robocall? A robocall is a call that is placed using an automatic dialer or contains an automated message. Even if there is a live person the call may still be considered a robocall if an automated dialer, which generated a random number, was used to place the call.
Robocalls are prohibited under the TCPA, 47 U.S.C. § 227. The TCPA is a federal law that requires statutory damages of $500 for each robocall, which can be tripled if the robocall is determined to be willful.
If you are receiving unwanted robocalls be sure to protect your rights. First and foremost, make sure your number is registered on the Do Not Call Registry. All non-emergency robocalls need a consumer’s consent to make calls or send texts to your cell phone. Telemarketers need this consent in writing before placing a call or they may be in violation. Further, callers are only allowed to call a wrong number once before updating their call list to remove your number. If you are receiving calls intended for someone else, be sure to let the caller know they have the wrong number and you do not consent to further calls. Additionally, each call must contain an opt-out mechanism, such as dialing zero to tell the caller to remove your number. Consumers can file complaints online with the FCC, which will analyze the data for trends as well as possibly investigate the company, and help guide enforcement efforts.
Finally, if you feel your rights have been violated, contacted an experienced consumer protection attorney. The TCPA applies to consumers everywhere, including consumers in Massachusetts. If a company is placing robocalls to you without your consent, a consumer protection attorney may be able to assist you with a TCPA claim.