It all began with a complaint. An individual filed a complaint with the Department of Agriculture, stating that an insurance company she had not done business with for over a decade was harassing her with calls and sales pitches. Although this seems a strange federal agency to choose when reporting the complaint, the woman was able to move forward with her claim.
She has since filed a TCPA claim against the insurance company on the behalf of a class of people in the same situation.
What is important about this case?
It is important to note that this is a special subset of TCPA claims. This type of claim focuses specifically on violations of the Do Not Call (DNC) list. This lawsuit includes a class of people who are also on the DNC list and received telemarketing calls from the same insurance provider within the last year. And, according to a recent piece in the National Law Review, such claims targeting insurance companies are becoming more common.
Because of the type of case, the group will likely move forward to hold the insurance company liable for calls that it may not have directly made. This is because the case will likely extend to include calls made by independent agents or brokers working on their behalf. This can cause a problem for the business, even if they believed the third-party callers were following applicable regulations when making the marketing calls.
What happens if they succeed?
If the plaintiffs are able to build a successful case, the insurance company could face serious financial penalties. These could include thousands of dollars for each individual call. This can quickly add up to a very large bill. The United States Federal Trade Commission reports it has recovered over $178 million in civil penalties and $112 million in restitution payments as a result of DNC violations. As such, businesses in similar situations should take such allegations seriously. Businesses can take proactive steps to build a defense and protect their interests.