Tribune Publishing Hit with Subscription Renewal Class Action

An Illinois resident has sued Tribune Publishing Company for allegedly making illegal telemarketing calls pushing the purchase of subscriptions to its newspapers. According to the plaintiff, the calls continued despite his enrollment on the nation’s do-not-call registry and his instructions to stop calling. 

The complaint charges the Chicago, Illinois-headquartered media company that publishes numerous newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, with willful violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) based on the plaintiff’s experience. In particular, the filing says that even after the plaintiff explained that his live-in mother whom Tribune was trying to reach had passed away, and in turn, there would be no renewal of her Tribune subscription, the calls to his landline continued. 

In addition, despite being told that he had been put on the company’s internal do-not-call list, the calls persisted. By way of example, the complaint points to five consecutive days in September 2022 where a live company representative called him once or twice a day.

The plaintiff asserts, on information and belief, that “Tribune keeps track of its contacts with consumers, knew when it made these calls that Plaintiff’s number was on the National Do Not Call Registry, and knew that Plaintiff was not a customer of Tribune when it made these calls to him and had not made an inquiry regarding Tribune goods or services for more than three months.”

Furthermore, the complaint claims Tribune is aware that its practices have previously been flagged as illegal as it paid $1.7 million to settle an earlier TCPA class lawsuit over similar do-not-call contentions.

The plaintiff asserts that Tribune’s pestering conduct violates the TCPA’s robocall, Internal Do Not Call, and Do Not Call Registry provisions. The complaint seeks damages and injunctive relief for the plaintiff and classes of other similarly situated persons.

The plaintiff is represented by Burke Law Offices LLC and SmithMarco P.C.

The suit was filed just before the Federal Communications Commission proposed a record-breaking nearly $300 million fine against an auto warranty scam robocall campaign, the largest robocall operation the agency has ever investigated.