As reported by Bloomberg Law (subscription), on Friday March 29, 2019, U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Central District of California certified two proposed plaintiff classes in a federal lawsuit against DIRECTV over allegations the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) by directing debt collection companies to make unwanted telemarketing phone calls to consumers on their behalf. The Court found that questions common to all class members outweigh any individualized questions of possible consent to the calls.
Congress enacted the TCPA in 1991 to protect the privacy interests of residential telephone subscribers by placing restrictions on unsolicited, automated telephone calls to the home and to facilitate interstate commerce by restricting certain uses of automatic dialers. Later enhancements to the TCPA prohibit sellers from making phone solicitations to people who list their numbers on the National Do-Not-Call Registry and on federally-mandated seller and telemarketer “internal do-not-call lists.” When these procedures are not followed, each call made by a telemarketer constitutes a violation of the TCPA and FCC regulations, and any person who receives two or more such calls to a non-business number has the right to enjoin the violation and recover up to $500 in damages, or up to $1500 if the violations are willful.
The DIRECTV lawsuit alleges that between 2009 and 2014, DIRECTV hired 20 debt collection companies to make calls regarding over 7 million customer accounts. According to Bloomberg Law, the suit’s named plaintiff alleges she received automated calls from debt collection companies on her cell phone made on DIRECTV’s behalf though she was never even a DIRECTV customer. The suit puts forth claims that class members were harmed by these calls due to money lost on wasted cell phone minutes as well as the ongoing inconvenience experienced from having their privacy repeatedly invaded.
The classes certified by the court in this suit consist of consumers who were or once had been DIRECTV customers and of those who had no prior relationship with the company.
National Telephone Consumer Protection Act Lawyers at Lieff Cabraser
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act prohibits abusive telephone practices by lenders and marketers, and places strict limits on the use of autodialers to call or send texts to cellphones. Lieff Cabraser has spearheaded a series of groundbreaking class actions under the TCPA. The settlements in these cases have put a stop to collectively millions of harassing calls by debt collectors and others and have resulted in the recovery by consumers across America of over $300 million to date, with additional actions continuing.
If you have received what you feel are unwanted or abusive cell calls or text messages, please contact a national consumer protection attorney at Lieff Cabraser for a free review of your case.