Settlement Forces Cruise Ship Companies to Pay Consumers for Spam Calls
A judge in Chicago has approved a class action settlement that would force cruise ship companies including Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean as well as a marketing company that worked with them, to pay up for spamming people with pre-recorded telemarketing calls that promoted the cruise lines. According to a news report, the problem was that these calls violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act or TCPA because the marketing company that was contracted to initiate these calls, Resort Marketing Group, did not have the people’s permission to contact them.
What the Settlement Means
Consumers who received these calls could get up to $300 for each call they received and up to $900 per phone number. To find out of they qualify, individuals can check the class action’s website to find out if their phone number qualified. The suit was filed in 2012 by Philip Charvat and claims that Resort Marketing Group contacted thousands of people through a telemarketing campaign on behalf of the three large cruise lines.
But, the plaintiff claims that neither the marketing company nor the cruise lines got prior express written consent from him allowing them to contact him for marketing purposes. This is required under the TCPA. The settlement that was reached covers $7 million to $12.5 million depending on the claims filed.
Under the settlement, only those who have their phone numbers listed in Resort Marketing Group’s database are eligible to receive the payment. The pre-recorded calls went out between July 23, 2009, and March 8, 2014. All claims must be postmarked by November 3, 2017 or electronically filed by 11:59 p.m. on November 3, 2017.
Understanding the TCPA
The TCPA regulates telemarketing calls, auto-dialed calls, prerecorded calls, text messages and unsolicited faxes. It is also the authority to create the National Do-Not-Call List. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is empowered to issue rules and regulations implementing the TCPA.
Consumers who receive telemarketing calls, unsolicited faxes, pre-recorded and/or automated calls to their cell phones or residential landlines, may file a lawsuit against the telemarketer or debt collector for the violation of the TCPA. A consumer can recover up to $500 for each violation of the Do-Not-Call registry, up to $500 per phone call that violates the TCPA and up to $1,500 per phone call if the consumer can show that the TCPA was violated knowingly and willfully.