9th Circuit Slams Debt Collector For Use Of Robocalls

A Pasadena federal appeals court recently upheld a preliminary injunction filed against a debt collection agency for using an automatic dialing system to place robocalls to its customers without their prior consent. The 9th Circuit affirmed the injunction against Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA), in essence, barring PRA from the use of its “Avaya Proative Contact Dialer” to cellphone numbers that were obtained through skiptracing.The injunction was granted by U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia in San Diego last year in favor of Plaintiff, Jeff Meyer. Plaintiff alleged that PRA violated his right to privacy, as stated under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The TCPA restricts telephone solicitations, the use of automated telephone equipment, and regulates the use of automatic dialing systems (robocalls), and prerecorded voice messages, text messages, and faxes, by requiring identification and in some cases, authorization.This 9th Circuit decision paved the way for a provisional class action against PRA. The 9th Circuit noted that PRA clearly admitted to using “predictive dialers” when it filed its securities papers. This alone, the Court ruled, is “sufficient to determine that PRA used an automatic telephone dialing system,” according to Courthouse News Service (“CNS”). “We have little difficulty concluding the record supports the district court’s finding that PRA would have continued to violate the TCPA if an injunction had not been issued,” Judge Morgan Christen wrote for the court, CNS reported.The 9th Circuit noted that PRA stated, in its brief, that it would stop calling Plaintiff, but PRA did not give assurance that it would do the same for other consumers. Over 46,000 cell phone numbers in California, collected through skiptracing, were called by PRA from February 1, 2011, to March 31, 2011, the ruling noted. That’s a lot of calls in two months, even if PRA called each cell phone just one time!Today, consumers receive more robocalls than ever. Technology is the reason. Companies use autodialers to send out thousands of phone calls every minute for an incredibly low cost. What is a robocall? If you pick up the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, then you have received a robocall. Similarly, if someone leaves you a prerecorded message, that’s a robocall, too. The TCPA protects consumers from annoying automated or prerecorded calls, unsolicited text messages, among other things. Damages in TCPA cases range from $500.00 – $1,500.00 per call or text. Recently, Jiffy Lube agreed to pay $47 million to settle claims in a text spam class action lawsuit. Sallie Mae also recently settled a class action for $25 million to settle claims it placed automated or prerecorded phone calls to its customers’ cell phones.If you have been the victim of a robocall or a prerecorded message, contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC, for a free consultation. We will help you stop the unwanted calls once and for all. Agruss ALaw Firm, LLC, has helped over 1,500 consumers. We want to help you, too.

We are listening

We will respond to you at lightning speed.
All of your information will be kept confidential.

Submitted Comments

No comments submitted yet. Sharing your story will help others!