Why do companies insist on sending spam to your cell phone, even after you have asked them to stop? The complaint for this class action alleges that H&R Block and Axos Bank violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending automated text messages to consumer cell phones, even after the consumers requested that they stop.
The class for this action is all non-customers in the US to whose cell phone number H&R Block or Axos, or someone acting on their behalf, sent a text message, using the same or a similar system as that used to send text messages to plaintiff Hoagland’s telephone number.
The TCPA forbids “mak[ing] any call (other than a call made for emergency purposes or made with the prior express consent of the called party) using any automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice … to any telephone number assigned to a … cellular telephone service[.]” The term “call” includes normal voice calls, voicemails, and text messages.
Axos Bank issues H&R Block’s prepaid credit cards, including its Emerald card. In this case, the complaint alleges that H&R Block and Axos have sent multiple text messages to plaintiff Kenneth Hoagland’s cell phone.
The complaint says, “The text messages consisted largely of account-related communications, such as a customer survey, notifications about charges to the person’s H&R Block Emerald card, H&R Block appointment reminders, and messages about the person’s tax return and a refund advance loan.”
For example, on February 2, 2019, Hoagland received the following message: “HRBLOCK: Axos Bank® has approved your Refund Advance loan for $500.00. Funds are being loaded to your H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard(R).”
Another message, sent a few days later, said, “$11.28 charge was made to Emerald Card 1533. Avail bal $1.26. Full access at hrblock.com/emeraldcard. Reply STOP to Cancel.”
In all, the complaint claims, they have sent more than fifty such text messages. Hoagland claims he has no relationship with either H&R Block or Axos Bank, and that he did not give his consent to receive these messages.
Hoagland says he notified H&R Block that it was sending its texts to the wrong person and asked multiple times for the texts to stop, but the companies continued to send the texts. It is not certain whether the companies logged his requests into their internal do-not-call systems but kept calling or whether they did not log the requests at all.
The complaint charges that the text messages were sent with an automatic dialing system. It claims that this is not H&R Block’s first instance with violations of the law: In 2007, it says, the company received an official citation from the FCC for junk faxing.