Articles Tagged with Chicago TCPA autodialer and junk fax attorneys

With the help of automated dialers, companies can now reach many customers all at once, via their telephones, to inform them of new products or services. These phone calls are often unwanted though, and even more so when the customers are the ones footing the bill. When everyone was using landlines, the person or company making the phone call was the one who paid for it, so although promotional calls were annoying, they never cost the customers anything. Now they can cost money and also invade privacy and waste time.

When cell phones became more common, customers were made to pay for the calls they received as well as the calls they made. This meant that some customers actually had to pay for the unwanted phone calls they got from various companies trying to sell their wares. In order to protect customers from this situation and to end the annoyance and invasion of privacy injuries if the practice could be deterred, legislators developed the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) which made it illegal for companies to contact customers via their cell phones in a non-emergency situation, unless the customers provided their express permission for the company to do so. Continue reading ›

With American legislature changing on a daily basis, it is not surprising to find that many of the laws out there contradict each other and courts are often called upon to determine which statute takes precedence. Such was the case in a recent lawsuit involving auto-calls made on behalf of State Farm.

In May 2007, Clara Betancourt applied for a car insurance policy with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. While she was applying for the car insurance policy, a State Farm agent asked her if she would like to pay using a State Farm credit card. Betancourt agreed and the agent used the information provided by Betancourt for the car insurance application to apply for the credit card on Betancourt’s behalf. Betancourt provided the agent with her home phone number, her cell phone number, and her work phone number.

Betancourt testified that she provided these phone numbers to State Farm as emergency contact information to be used only “for an emergency or something serious.”

The three phone numbers that Betancourt provided all belonged to Fredy Osorio, with whom she has lived for many years and with whom she has a son.

When Betancourt failed to make a timely payment of the minimum balance on her credit card in November 2010, State Farm authorized FMS Inc., a collection agency, to attempt to collect the debt. State Farm provided FMS with Betancourt’s phone numbers and FMS proceeded to make 327 auto-dialed calls to these phone numbers in a six-month period. State Farm alleges that at no time did anyone answering the phone say that the number did not belong to Betancourt. By contrast, Osorio testified that he told State Farm agents to “Please stop calling” on two occasions. Continue reading ›

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