“Free Cruise” Robocall Settlement Means You Could Receive Up To $900

Image courtesy of (Jeremy Brooks)

You might not have “won a free cruise” as one of the most annoying robocalls to ever occur promises, but you could receive up to $900 for enduring the inconvenience of the call.

Resort Marketing Group — the company behind the calls for Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line — recently settled a class action lawsuit that accused the company of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by illegally contacting individuals via robocalls.

The Case

According to the 2012 lawsuit [PDF], the cruise lines authorized Resort Marketing Group to make recorded “robocalls” to customers.

Starting in 2009, Resort Marketing Group began telemarketing on behalf of the cruise lines by purchasing consumers’ contact information from a third-party data broker.

Resort Marketing Group claimed that the individuals it contacted had opted in to receive the calls by visiting various websites, which are unaffiliated with the company or any of the cruise lines. However, the plaintiff in the case claimed that because he never gave consent to be contacted by Resort Marketing Group, the company violated the TCPA.

The TCPA prohibits telemarketers from making calls using automated dialing equipment and prerecorded messages, unless the person being called has given the caller prior express written consent to be contacted that way.

Additionally, the suit claimed that the telemarketing company was not in any possession of evidence related to the actual visit to these websites or that customers had opted in to be contacted. The company that sold consumers’ information to Resort Marketing Group admitted that it received the data by purchasing it from yet another data broker.

As a result, the plaintiff sought $500 to $1,500 for each violation of the TCPA.

The Settlement

A federal judge granted preliminary approval of the settlement [PDF] in July. Under the settlement, the companies would set up a fund no less than $7 million and no more than $12.5 million.

The ultimate size of the fund will depend on the number of claims filed. Individuals are eligible to submit a claim if they received a call between July 2009 and March 2014.

Eligible claims will receive up to $300 for each marketing call made to their home or cell phone by Resort Marketing Group, but there’s a limit: The maximum number of calls a class member can recover is three per phone number, meaning the most any one person could receive is up to $900.

Consumers can check to see if they are eligible to file a claim by entering their phone number on a class action settlement website, rmgtcpasettlemnt.com.

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