Time Warner Cable Must Pay Nearly $230,000 For 153 Robocalls To The Wrong Person

We can all agree that automated robocalls are an annoying interruption. But you know what’s worse? Receiving those automated calls meant for someone else, telling the company to place you on the Do Not Call list and then continuing to receive a total of 153 prerecorded messages.

That just so happened to be the case for a Texas woman who sued Time Warner Cable for incessant robocalls last year. Now, a federal judge has ruled that the cable company must pay her $1,500 per annoying call (totaling $229,500) for violating consumer protection laws, Reuters reports.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled on Tuesday that each call TWC placed to the Texas woman between July 2013 and August 2014 constituted a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 – which aims to curb robocall and telemarketing abuses.

According to the woman’s lawsuit, in the summer of 2013 she began receiving calls and harassing messages intended for someone else who had opened an account with New York-based TWC using a phone number the woman now held.

After receiving several calls to her cell phone, the woman explained to a representative for the company that she was not the intended recipient and would like to be added to the company’s Do Not Call list, Reuters reports.

Still, the calls – made through an interactive voice response (IVR) system for customers who were late paying bills – persisted. In March 2014, the woman took the step to sue the company, but the calls continued.

TWC contended that it wasn’t liable under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act because it believed it was contacting someone else who had previously consented to the calls.

However, Hellerstein noted in his ruling that a “responsible business” would have tried to address the problem.

“A responsible business in TWC’s position might have dispatched a live agent to reach out to [the actual customer] after the IVR failed to reach him the first several times,” Hellerstein wrote in his ruling. “The responsible company will reduce its exposure dramatically by taking proactive steps to mitigate damages, while its competitor, who unthinkingly robo-dials the same person hundreds of times over many months without pausing to wonder why it cannot reach him, cannot complain about much higher liability.’

“Defendant harassed plaintiff with robo-calls until she had to resort to a lawsuit to make the calls stop, and even then TWC could not be bothered to update the information in its IVR system,” the decision continued.

Additionally, Hellerstein determined that the company’s final 74 calls that came after the lawsuit was filed were “particularly egregious violations of the TCPA and indicate that TWC simply did not take this lawsuit seriously.”

A lawyer for the Texas woman says she is happy with the case’s outcome.

A rep for TWC tells Reuters that the company is reviewing the decision.

Time Warner Cable owes $229,500 to woman it would not stop calling [Reuters]

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