Time Warner Forced to Pay Woman $229,500 for 153 Mistaken Robocalls
One robocall is unpleasant. 153 of them is its own special kind of torture.
Many Time Warner customers have received those delightful automated calls reminding them to pay their bill. Araceli King of Irving, Texas, received 153 of those calls in one year reminding someone by the name of Luiz Perez, a person she does not know but who used to have her cellphone number, to pay his bill.
Naturally, she told Time Warner to stop. Naturally, Time Warner did not stop. Not even after she had a lengthy conversation with a Time Warner representative explaining the problem. Not even after she sued them.
Hopefully the cable conglomerate will think twice next time it harasses someone to that extent. A Manhattan federal judge ruled Tuesday that it must pay King $229,500
Time Warner Cable's rather pathetic argument was that it was not liable to King under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, ironically, a law meant to curb robocall and telemarketing abuses, because it believed it was calling Perez, who had consented to the calls. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein was not buying it, saying that Time Warner did not behave like a "responsible business.” A responsible business would have made an attempt to find Perez, and correct the computer record. Time Warner kept right on calling King even after she sued them, so it coud hardly argue that it was unknown that she objected.
The judge awarded King triple damages of $1,500 per call, saying Time Warner willfully violated the law.
“Defendant harassed plaintiff with robocalls until she had to resort to a lawsuit to make the calls stop, and even then TWC could not be bothered to update the information in its IVR system,” Hellerstein wrote, according to Reuters.
The last 74 calls, he added, were “particularly egregious violations of the TCPA and indicate that TWC simply did not take this lawsuit seriously.”
So, score one for the little guy for now, though a trial had been scheduled for 27 July, as Time Warner Cable reviews the decision.