All consumers who received telemarketing calls from Birch Communications on or after Oct. 27, 2011, may be eligible for a potential award of up to $200 per person. The ruling came on Oct. 13, 2017, and came as a result of a recent class-action lawsuit brought forth by a California-based plumbing company.
The case was presented by Abante Rooter and Plumbing, owned by Fred Heidarpour. Abante accused Birch Communications, a company that provides telecommunication and technology services to businesses, of placing a robocall to a company-owned phone in September of 2015. The company representative who received the call claimed that he heard a beep and a long pause after picking up; an occurrence that the plaintiff identifies to be a sign of a robocall.
Robocalls are those made using an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS). By making an alleged robocall, Birch Communications was in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Before submitting the lawsuit, Abante sent a letter to Birch Communications asking if they had Abante’s expressed consent to place the call. They responded asserting that the TCPA did not apply to business numbers; a statement that the courts deemed false.
Birch Communications agreed to set up a fund of $12 million to cover awards for all Class Members, court fees, attorney fees, the cost of settlement administering, as well as an incentive award for the plaintiff. Class Members who submit valid claims within the time allowed will receive two payments — one in December 2018 and another in June 2020 — that combined will total between $100-$200.
In this case, the telemarketer targeted a business rather than an individual and when questioned about the legality of their actions, they attempted to mislead them by supplying false information. This is something that many telemarketers do with hopes that you are not aware of your rights under the TCPA. The TCPA doesn’t only protect you against robocalls made using an ATDS but also prohibits telemarketers from:
- Calling those listed on the Do Not Call Registry
- Calling residential phone lines
- Using an ATDS to leave pre-recorded messages
- Using an ATDS to text cell phones
- Failing to identify themselves on the call
It is difficult to protect your rights when you aren’t sure of what they are. The Florida TCPA attorneys at The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi are here to inform you of those rights and ensure that you receive fair compensation when they are violated. We are fully aware of the tactics many telemarketers use to outwit unknowing consumers. If you believe you were illegally contacted or harassed by telemarketers, contact us today for a free case evaluation and let Jibrael go to work for you!