In 2020, Americans received nearly 50 billion robocalls – roughly half of which were identified as scams. Although many have become accustomed to not responding to foreign phone numbers, robocalls, even if summarily ignored, are a preposterous time-wasting nuisance in the aggregate.
Even assuming conservatively that robocalls cost Americans 30 seconds of their day each week, the collective wasted time equates to, literally, tens of thousands of years annually. Unwanted robocalls overwhelmingly represents the top consumer complaint reported to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The question remains: why on God’s good earth haven’t we put an end to this persistent source of annoyance?
In my line of work, I can’t ignore calls from unrecognized phone numbers. As a result, I receive about 2-4 robocalls per week, mostly originating from an automated voice trying to sell me an “extended car warranty.” Something tells me you’ve also heard the words: “We’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended…” before delivering a feeble tap of your digital “end call” button (Clapping a flip phone offered a more satisfying response, but I digress).
As noted by my colleague, Jason Causey, recent bipartisan legislation may prove to stem these solicitations. However, class action lawyers have also asserted a role in the ongoing war on robocalls.
Last April, attorneys in New Jersey filed a class action suit against “U.S. Dealer Services, Inc.,” a California business that routinely harasses consumers by marketing “extended car warranties” via robocalls. The complaint alleged that U.S. Dealer Services delivered repeated, unsolicited calls, and from unique phone numbers, to the same individual several times in January 2021. The representative plaintiff received these solicitations despite having previously registered on the National Do-Not-Call Registry. Pursuant to the federal Telephone Consumer Protect Act, the Defendant’s conduct gives rise to potentially $500-$1500 in damages for each call that the Defendant made to members of the plaintiff class, i.e., members of the Do-Not-Call Registry. The complaint also requested an injunction to prohibit any further solicitations.
If you’ve been bombarded with daily robocalls, registering with the National Do-Not-Call Registry may do the trick (accessible at donotcall.gov). If the harassment continues, you may have a legal remedy, and one of our consumer protection attorneys would be glad to speak with you.