An article in ABC News details how thousands of consumers are receiving calls from robodialers for debts they do not owe. Heather Waite, a 17 year old high school student in Florida received over 200 calls from debt collectors.
Not only does Waite do not owe any debt, but the automated call kept asking for Marcie Rodriguez, not Heather Waite. Waite only had the option of pressing 1 if she was in fact Rodriguez; no option to opt out was offered.
The volume of calls got so bad that Waite had to turn off her cell phone to avoid being harassed by the debt collectors looking for the wrong person. Finally, Waite had enough and finally pressed 1.
She was directed to a representative from Diversified Consultants, Inc, the company harassing Waite. Waite told the representative that she was, in fact, not Marcie Rodriguez, and asked not to be contacted again. The calls continued, at which point Waite’s parents decided to get a lawyer.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) restricts telephone solicitation, and states that unwanted robocalls to cell phones are illegal, and companies that place these calls can be held liable. The federal law stipulates a $500 minimum violation for every unwanted phone call to a cell phone, and up to $1,500 per call.
The COO of Diversified Consultants, Inc., Gordon Beck, claims that unwanted calls are a result of human error, as the company makes over a million calls per day.
Waite and her family, like many other consumers, will be financially reimbursed for the more than 200 calls that Heather received.