A Tennessee woman has been awarded nearly half a million dollars after a furniture company illegally hounded her with hundreds of robocalls, sometimes up to a dozen times per day, even after she asked them to no longer contact her, per court records.
Furniture chain Conn’s began contacting Davis in September of 2015, according to a court filing, about a month after she purchased furniture from its Memphis store that she was to pay off in monthly instalments.
Per her contract, payments for the furniture were due on the fifth day of each month, though court documents said both the contract and a Conn’s representative informed her there was a 10-day grace period during which payments would not be considered late.
Despite this grace period, the company repeatedly spammed Davis between the day her payment was due and the end of the extension using an automatic telephone dialling system (ATDS). According to court records, Davis revoked her consent for the company to contact her in March 2017.
But the company called her 306 additional times after she asked them not to, sometimes contacting her up to a dozen times a day, her attorney Frank Kerney told Gizmodo by phone.
Kerney, who represented Davis alongside attorney Joshua Kersey, said that by continuing to call her using an ATDS even after she told the company not to, Conn’s violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) — a law restricting robocalls and telemarketing — and therefore broke the law.
Arbitrator Michael Russell has given Conn’s 30 days from March 25 to cough up the hefty $646,880 award, which amounted to the maximum $2,114 per call to Davis’ phone after she revoked consent to be contacted. Conn’s has filed a motion to vacate the award in the Southern District of Texas, though Kerney said he feels “very confident” it will be dismissed.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The thing to recognise, Kerney noted, is that the company would not have violated the TCPA if it had used a human representative to manually contact her. It’s a good thing to keep in mind if you find that you too are being spammed with calls (and lord knows you probably are).
“If they had just picked up a desktop phone and called her by dialling her ten-digit telephone number, that wouldn’t have been a violation of the law,” Kerney said. “If a person says ‘don’t call me’, you better stop calling them.”