Ever wonder why you may be advised to scrub lists for reassigned numbers or use the FCC’s Reassigned Number Database prior to texting or calling numbers from a database? Well, here’s a great practical example.
On May 19, 2023 the US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana preliminarily approved a $761,850.00 settlement for 8,465 “wrong number” calls in violation of the TCPA.
The underlying suit was filed March 7, 2022 by John Fralish, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, vs. Ceteris Portfolio Services, LLC, Case No. 3:22-cv-00176-DRL-MGG (N.D. Indiana). In the proposed settlement agreement, Ceteris Portfolio Services admits to making 8,465 unique cellular telephone numbers with a “wrong number” designation which were delivered, or it attempted to deliver, to voice mail box direct drop or ringless voice message between June 1, 2021 and February 1, 2023. Ceteris Portfolio Services also agreed to increase the settlement fund $90.00 per number, for any increase of wrong numbers above the 8,465 unique cellular telephone numbers already identified. Following expiration of an objection period in August 2023, a fairness hearing will be conducted in September to confirm that the proposed settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and to determine whether a final order and judgment should be entered.
Bottom line: under the TCPA while a caller may have consent from a consumer to text or call the consumer’s number, if the number is wrong or is reassigned, the caller no longer has consent from the party it actually calls or texts, giving rise to a potential TCPA claim from the called party and others similarly situated. Hence, why it makes sense to scrub numbers on a list against the FCC’s Reassigned Number Database, or to take other steps to ensure that numbers being called remain assigned to the consumer that provided them. Just some TCPA food for thought...