Consumer Wins $65,000 for Incorrect Phone Calls
Have you ever wanted to stick it to the bank or anyone else giving you a slew of prerecorded sales pitches, surveys or other phone calls? In Michigan, one consumer took his particular case to court after he received a number of harassing phone calls from World Financial Network National Bank.
Consumer Dan Harris claimed to receive 56 prerecorded robo calls on his cell phone about outstanding debts. Harrison however, was the wrong person. Although he told the bank they were phoning the wrong person, the harassing phone calls continued.
The lawsuit claimed that the bank violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and Michigan's Collection Practices Act. The TCPA was passed by Congress in 1991 and prohibits automated or prerecorded phone calls to be used when calling a cell phone unless there is prior consent.
The consumer received 56 automatic calls on his cell phone from a company called Alliance Data Systems, which was phoning on behalf of the bank. The bank claims that one of its customers gave the cell phone as a contact number, but later admitted that the consumer did in fact call to remedy the error.
To compound matters, the consumer had never even been a customer at the bank and had no prior dealings with the company. The consumer decided that over a more than two month period 56 times was enough before he took both the bank and the calling company to court.
The court ruled in the consumer's favor and granted him $65,000 for harassing incorrect phone calls. $62,000 of that total was granted under the TCPA and another $2500 was for legal fees, court costs and damages under TCPA guidelines.
TCPA allows damages that total $500 per wrongful call and the amount is tripled in cases of willful action. The judge found that the bank violated the act willfully when it continued to call the consumer's phone even after he called and tried to correct mistake.
Consumers receiving unwanted prerecorded phone calls, junk faxes, do not call violations, instances of caller ID misrepresentation, or any other issue dealing with TV, radio, cable, satellite or any other communications issue are encouraged to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. Please report all do not call violations to the National Do Not Call Registry and the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.