A class action lawsuit filed in Florida federal court accuses Bank of America of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by using automated dialers to call customers’ cellphones to collect debt.
Lead plaintiff Marc Katz alleges in the class action lawsuit that Bank of America started a mortgage foreclosure against him in 2010 and called his cellphone repeatedly to collect on the debt. Katz says Bank of America continued to contact him using an autodialer even after he told them to contact his attorney for anything related to the foreclosure.
Katz alleges in the class action lawsuit that the bank not only violated the TCPA by using an autodialer to contact him, but also violated Florida state law regulating consumer debt harassment.
These laws are designed to protect consumers from the following, unless they have granted companies prior express permission:
- Prohibits solicitors from calling residences before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., local time.
- Requires solicitors maintain a “do-not-call” (DNC) list of consumers who asked not to be called; the DNC request must be honored for 5 years.
- Requires solicitors honor the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Requires solicitors to provide their name, the name of the person or entity’s behalf the call is being made for, and a telephone number or address to which that person or entity may be contacted.
- Prohibits solicitations from using an artificial voice or a recording.
- Prohibits automated telephone equipment or prerecorded or artificial voices making calls, to an emergency line, a hospital emergency number, a physician’s office, a hospital/health care facility/elderly room, a cellular telephone, or any service for which the recipient is charged for the call.
- Prohibits automated dialing calls that take up two or more lines of a multi-line business.
- Prohibits unsolicited faxes.
Most violations of the TCPA typically cost the company $500 per violation, but can go up to $1,500 if the company is found to have intentionally violated the TCPA. Additionally, the individual has the option of seeking an injunction.
Katz further alleges in the class action lawsuit that when he answered the calls, it had always been a machine-operated voice that answered him. The voice would advise him to “hold for the next available representative,” forcing him to wait on the line and listen to music or “dead air” before an actual person came to the phone.
The TCPA prohibits companies from using pre-recorded voice messages.
“Defendant’s persistent and unlawful calling campaign was carried out with the intent to abuse and harass the plaintiff,” the class action lawsuit says.
Katz is seeking to represent all individuals in Florida who were subjected to Bank of America’s debt collection calls, in regards to their residential property in Florida, and who had corresponding lawyers the bank was supposed to call first.
The class action lawsuit is seeking statutory and actual damages, as well as a permanent injunction barring the bank from calling Katz regarding the alleged debt.
The Bank of America Debt Collection TCPA Class Action Lawsuit case is Marc Katz v. Bank of America NA, Case No. 13-cv-61372, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Were you contacted by Bank of America or another company on your cellphone with a pre-recorded voice message? You may have a legal claim to seek compensation. Visit the Text Message Spam Cell Phone Call Class Action Lawsuit Investigation for a free legal review.
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