A look at the Class Action Lawsuit against the Free Cruise Robocalls
Amid increasingly stringent regulation to fight telemarketing malpractices and prerecorded phone calls, a federal class action lawsuit against Resort Marketing Group has been settled and the defendants have been asked to pay $7.5 million to $12.5 million. The class action lawsuit was filed in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by Ohio resident Philip Charvat, who was among thousands who had received robocalls from the third-party marketing company representing the defendants promising free cruises. The total settlement amount will be evenly distributed among the recipients of the calls. Every call will be compensated with three hundred dollars and anyone can claim the compensation for a maximum of three calls per number. In other words, if you have received a phone call or robocall for free cruise from these companies or on behalf of them then you could pocket up to nine hundred dollars.
The lawsuit was titled Charvat v. Resort Marketing Group et al. with Case No. 1:12cv05746 alleged that Aurora based Resort Marketing Group represented Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Corporation and NCL (Bahamas) and made prerecorded phone calls or robocalls to customers in an attempt to fill the cabins of multiple ships or cruises owned and operated by the three companies. The first plaintiff was Philip Charvat who received the call back in 2012. He was informed that he had won a free cruise after he had filled a form and following some kind of draw or random selection. It was an automated call, perhaps facilitated by a predictive dialer or some kind of machine-based dialing. Charvat successfully argued that it was not a permissible advertisement for the said services.
The case against the artificial or prerecorded messages was soon turned into a class action lawsuit and interestingly the defendants did not oppose the development. The database used by the defendants has been hosted online. Anyone who may have received phone calls from the telemarketers or dialing system of Resort Marketing Group et al can check their number on the online database and accordingly get the due compensation. Fresh applications for this are however closed now. The final approval from the court is due in April 2018. The case pertains to a substantial period from 2009 to 2014. Applications to be included as among the plaintiff were finally closed in November. 2017.
This is not the first-time companies have misused telemarketing and have landed in trouble. Dish was ordered to pay a whopping $280 million for having carried out a robocall campaign. There was a class action lawsuit that took eight years to be eventually settled. There have been many such instances all around the country. In some cases, there was no prerecorded message, but telemarketers called up numbers that were listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. In one such instance, more than a million phone calls were made to numbers listed on the National DNC Registry. The telemarketers were selling solar panels by misleading people that energy tariffs would be hiked.