Time Warner Cable has been found liable of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and ordered to pay $229,500 to a woman it harassed with robocalls. The company placed 153 automated calls in less than a year to a cell phone owned by Araceli King, continuing even after she informed them they were reaching the wrong person and even after she filed a lawsuit to stop the calls. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein awarded triple damages in the case amounting to $1,500 per call, after determining the company was willfully violating the TCPA.
The cable company began calling Ms. King’s cell phone and leaving automated messages for Luiz Perez as part of a system intended to contact customers who are late paying their bills. Time Warner claimed it had not violated the TCPA because Perez had consented to being called by the company.
However, Ms. King said she spoke to a Time Warner representative and had record of a seven-minute conversation in which she explained the phone number they were calling no longer reached Perez, but instead went to her cell phone. The calls continued, and Ms. King filed a lawsuit to try to force the company to rectify the situation.
In his decision, Judge Hellerstein noted that 74 phone calls were made even after Ms. King filed her lawsuit, and said these were “particularly egregious violations of the TCPA.” He said this action illustrated Time Warner did not take the lawsuit seriously. He said that a “responsible business” would have tried hard to find Perez or, at the very least, updated the information in its interactive voice response system to stop the calls from going to Ms. King.
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