Wrong Number Robocalls and Text Messages: Who’s Affected?
Have you received calls or text messages on your cell phone number from a business, creditor, or debt collector that were intended for someone else?
Did the company that placed these wrong number calls use an autodialer, an artificial voice, or a prerecorded voice?
If you received text messages or cell phone calls meant for someone else, you may qualify to participate in a wrong number class action lawsuit investigation, and you may be entitled to compensation under a federal law called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).
Although a business, creditor, or debt collector calling the wrong person may seem like a simple mistake, wrong number calls not intended for the recipient can be stressful and, if continued, harassing.
They sometimes happen when you get a new phone number but can also happen in other circumstances when the debt collection company simply has the wrong number.
What is the TCPA?
The TCPA is a federal law that prohibits companies from using an autodialer, or an artificial voice, or a prerecorded voice, to place calls to cellular telephone numbers without prior express consent. In other words, companies are prohibited from placing robocalls to cellular telephone numbers without permission.
The TCPA prohibits various behaviors including:
- Placing robocalls using an automatic dialing system, an artificial voice, or a prerecorded voice;
- Sending unsolicited texts;
- Not providing opt-out options to consumers;
- Sending unsolicited messages to any fax machines;
- And more.
You can usually spot a robocall by the computerized or prerecorded voice or when there is a long pause or series of beeps or clicks before a live person comes onto the call. Under the TCPA, consumers may be able to collect between $500 and $1,500 per violation by filing a lawsuit or joining a class action against the offending company.
Credit or Debt Collector Calling But No Debt?
Creditors and Debt collectors calling or texting the wrong person can happen for a variety of reasons. Debtors may accidentally give the wrong number, or it may be taken down wrong by a creditor or debt collector.
In some cases, consumers may change their cell phone numbers without telling the creditor or debt collector. Then, when the phone company later reassigns the number, the new subscriber will start getting calls for the original owner of the number. Other possibilities may include having the same name as the debtor which may result in a mix-up of information.
Regardless of the reason, debt collector calls meant for the wrong person may be illegal. Consumers may be able to seek compensation for these TCPA violations through legal action.
Are Wrong Number TCPA Class Action Lawsuits Effective?
Cable and home telephone provider Cox Communications agreed to pay $10.75 million to settle a TCPA class action. That lawsuit was filed by a consumer who allegedly received several calls from Cox meant for someone else.
This case is just one example of the hundreds of millions of dollars recovered in connection with class action lawsuits under the TCPA against creditors (including banks, lenders, credit card companies, etc.), debt collectors, and other companies.
For example, CapitalOne paid over $75 million to resolve a TCPA class action. AT&T Mobility paid $45 million. And Bank of America paid over $30 million.
Other notable TCPA class action settlements include:
- Cross v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ($30.4 million);
- Johnson v. Navient Solutions, Inc. ($19.74 million);
- Markos v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ($16.4 million);
- Luster v. Wells Fargo Dealer Services, Inc. ($14.8 million);
- Knapper v. Cox Communications, Inc. ($10.75 million);
- Sheean v. Convergent Outsourcing, Inc. ($3.71 million).
If you’ve had a business, creditor, or debt collector call or text your phone for someone else, you may be eligible to participate in this unknown debt collector calls class action lawsuit investigation.
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