Charter Communications sued for TCPA Violations After Unwanted Calls

Charter Communications was sued on Tuesday for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Charter Communications is an telecommunications and mass media company with services branded as Charter Spectrum, with over 26 million customers in 41 states; according to the filing, it is the second-largest cable operator in the United States by subscribers, just behind Comcast, and third-largest pay TV operator behind Comcast and AT&T.

The TCPA restricts telephone solicitations and the use of automated telephone equipment.  The TCPA limits the use of automatic dialing systems, artificial or prerecorded voice messages, SMS text messages, and fax machines.  It also specifies several technical requirements for fax machines, autodialers, and voice messaging systems.  For example, its provisions require identification and contact information of the entity using the device to be contained in a message. 

As stated in the complaint, the plaintiff alleged her cell phone was contacted by Charter Communications with an automated telephone dialing system.  The plaintiff claims she knew it was automated because it was a prerecorded message and not a live person on the telephone.  Additionally, the plaintiff alleged the calls were not for “emergency purposes” but rather made for solicitation purposes.  The plaintiff said she requested that Charter Communications stop calling her and has been on the “Do Not Call Registry since October of 2003.” 

The complaint contained two counts.  First, alleged violation of TCPA 47 U.S.C. § 227(B).  “The TCPA prohibits placing calls using an automatic telephone dialing system or automatically generated or prerecorded voice to a cellular telephone except where the caller has the prior express consent of the called party to make such calls or where the call is made for emergency purposes.”  Plaintiff gave no consent to Charter Communications for the calls and claims Charter Communications actions/omissions were “malicious, intentional, willful, reckless, wanton and negligent disregard for Plaintiff’s rights under the law and with the purpose of harassing Plaintiff.” 

The second count, alleged violation of TCPA 47 U.S.C. § 227(C).  “The TCPA prohibits any person or entity of initiating any telephone solicitation to a residential telephone subscriber who has registered his or her telephone number on the National Do-Not-Call Registry of persons who do not wish to receive telephone solicitations that is maintained by the Federal Government.” 

For relief, the plaintiff is seeking damages as provided under the TCPA, as well as a jury trial. The plaintiff is being represented by Kimmel & Silverman.

A recently-argued Supreme Court case could redefine the future of the TCPA.