Even debt collection companies must obey the provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)—and violations are all the more maddening when the person who receives the calls is not the person who owes money. The complaint for this class action alleges that the I3 Group, LLC violated the law when it called consumers without permission, attempting to collect debts.
The class for this action is all persons and entities in the US
Congress passed the TCPA in response to consumer annoyance with automated telemarketing calls—calls made by automatic dialing systems or using an artificial or prerecorded voice.
Cell phone owners were of particular concern, because they typically pay for incoming as well as outgoing calls. This makes automated telemarketing calls an expense as well as a nuisance.
The upshot is that advertisers are forbidden to place non-emergency calls to consumer cell phones, using and automatic dialing system or artificial or prerecorded voice, unless the consumers have given their prior express written consent to receive such calls.
The complaint says that automated calls “are prohibited because, as Congress found, automated or prerecorded telephone calls are a greater nuisance and invasion of privacy than live solicitation calls…” This must be particularly true when the call is for someone else and no live person is on the line who can take the information.
This seems to have been the case with plaintiff Julia Pennamacoor. Beginning in or around June 2018, she began receiving calls on her cell phone from I3 Group, a company that specializes in servicing student loan obligations. The complaint alleges that the calls were made with an automatic dialing system. If Pennamacoor did not pick up the call, the company left a prerecorded voicemail asking her to call back.
However, the calls were not for Pennamacoor; they were for someone named Liam. The complaint asserts that she is not a customer of I3 and does not owe the group any money.
The complaint claims that the company called her in this way at least twenty times. It asks for $500 in statutory damages for each of the calls and treble damages of up to $1,500 per call, as well as an award of attorneys’ fees and costs and “[s]uch other relief as the Court deems just and proper.”