A Pennsylvania woman has initiated a putative class action lawsuit against loan servicing and debt collection company Seterus made repeated unsolicited debt collection calls to alleged debtors in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
The TCPA was enacted to protect consumers from autodialed calls to their cells phones. Specifically, the law prohibits the use of automatic telephone dialing systems and artificial voice messages if the recipient does not give consent to receive such calls, including unsolicited debt collection calls.
But plaintiff Sandra Corrigan says in August 2017, she began receiving unsolicited debt collection calls from Seterus to her cell phone regarding the attempted collection from her of unpaid mortgage payments that her daughter was allegedly behind on. Upon answering the unsolicited debt collection calls, Corrigan noticed a slight pause before being connected to a live agent. This artificially long pause is indicative of the caller using an automatic telephone dialing system or ATDS to place the calls.
According to the TCPA class action lawsuit, Corrigan requested Seterus stop making these unsolicited debt collection calls to her cell phone and explained the caller was calling the wrong person. However, she says that Seterus persisted to make calls to Corrigan’s cell phone at least 25 more times.
Corrigan claims she is not the only consumer who has had to deal with these harassing unsolicited debt collection calls. She asserts that Seterus placed and continues to place repeated and harassing autodialed phone calls for the purpose of debt collection to thousands of consumers’ cell phones for which consumers never provided Seterus with prior express consent to be called. Worse yet, Corrigan says Seterus made these unsolicited debt collection calls to the cell phones of individuals who owed no debt to Seterus whatsoever and who were not delinquent of any of their loan – all in violation of the TCPA.
“Seterus made these calls despite the fact that neither Plaintiff nor the putative members of the Class ever provided Seterus with their prior express written consent to be called,” the lawsuit states.
Instead, the TCPA class action lawsuit contends that Seterus uses skip tracing, a system which reveals that the call recipient has some connection to the actual debtors. These connections could include being a relative or roommate, but also include cell phone numbers once used by the actual debtor, but that no longer belong to that person. Additionally, Seterus’ calls utilized interactive voice recognition technology, known as a predictive dialer, in which a machine places calls, and when a consumer answers the phone, there is a noticeable pause prior to being connected to a live representative of Seterus.
Corrigan is seeking to represent a nationwide class of consumers who received a telephone call on their cell phone from Seterus from 2013 to the present and for which Seterus had no record of prior express written consent. The TCPA class action lawsuit is requesting actual and statutory damages as well as an injunction requiring Seterus to stop all “unsolicited calling activities”.
The Seterus Unsolicited Debt Collection Calls Class Action Lawsuit is Sandra Corrigan, et al. v. Seterus, Inc., Case No. 3:17-cv-02348-RDM, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.