(COLORADO SPRINGS) — In an era where spam calls have become a pervasive nuisance for phone users nationwide, one Colorado Springs man has decided to take matters into his own hands and is suing his spam callers.
David Ulery has filed a federal lawsuit against Happy Panda Inc. and its president, Robert Selfors, in a bid to put an end to the incessant spam calls that he says have disrupted his life and privacy.
The lawsuit states that the calls “are a nuisance and annoyance to Ulery. The calls have invaded Ulery’s privacy. The spam has diminished the value of Ulery’s phone and Ulery’s enjoyment of life.”
Ulery’s experience is far from unique. What many may not realize is that most spam calls, like those experienced by Ulery, are against the law. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is in place to prevent these exact intrusions.
Ulery has been a registered member of the National Do Not Call Registry since 2011, yet he continued to receive calls, from what sounds like a pre-recorded call from “Bob Hansen” offering website building services in Southern California, which the lawsuit alleges as TCPA violations.
According to the law, unsolicited calls that introduce advertisements or constitute telemarketing using artificial or prerecorded voices are illegal unless the caller has the “prior express written consent” of the recipient. The lawsuit says that if your number is on the Do Not Call Registry, the TCPA requires callers who are selling goods or services to either have your consent or they have to prove that you either inquired about their goods or services in the last 90 days or that in the last 18 months, you have been a customer.
The TCPA also requires telemarketers to disclose the name of the caller and the entity they represent, and prohibits calls to cell phones using an automatic telephone dialing system except for “emergency purposes.”
Thomas Alvord, the attorney representing Ulery and the CEO of Law HQ, revealed that nearly 35,000 telephone spam federal lawsuits have been filed since 2009, with a remarkable 82% of them settling in favor of the plaintiffs. According to Alvord, most spammers quickly capitulate when caught because they understand the trouble they’re in.
Ulery himself has filed over half a dozen lawsuits against telephone spammers and says he has never lost. The settlements he has received ranged up to $5,000. The current lawsuit states that the spammers owe at least $500 per violation.
Ulery’s success can be attributed, in part, to Caller HQ, an app developed by Law HQ, which records calls and enables users to report spam.
“The TCPA was passed in 1991, it’s been 32 years, and the spam problem hasn’t diminished. It’s actually just increased… We have an investigative team who tracks down the spammers and we go sue the spammers to get them to stop,” said Alvord.
Alvord warns that further than the monetary consequences, violating an injunction could lead to court-ordered sanctions, including potential jail time. Because of the app, Alvord reports that Law HQ filed one lawsuit per business day in October alone.
“As our users use Caller HQ, it gives us more intel and more data to identify and aggregate and track down these spammers,” said Alvord.
For Ulery, this isn’t just about the money; he and his attorneys at Law HQ hope to raise awareness of people’s rights when it comes to these spam calls. They encourage people to add their number to the National Do Not Call Registry and to use the Caller HQ app as a tool.
“I plan to continue to bring on these lawsuits until the scammers stop,” says Ulery.