In case it was not self-evident, an Illinois federal court eliminated any doubt that it is a bad idea to use spoof caller IDs to make newspaper delivery service advertising calls to former subscribers who had previously placed their numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. On November 23, 2021, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly gave his initial approval of a $1.7 million deal to settle a class action suit brought against Tribune Publishing Co. (“Tribune”) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).
The settlement class consists of approximately 28,000 people who were solicited by Tribune’s telemarketing vendor, Consumer Engagement Services LLC (“CES”), between December 11, 2017, and April 15, 2021, notwithstanding that the call recipients had opted out of such calls by registering their telephone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry.
According to court filings, CES called over 28,000 former subscribers on Tribune’s behalf at least twice in a 12-month period after the TCPA’s 18-month “established business relationship” grace period had lapsed.
Under the terms of the settlement, Tribune also agreed to modify its practices to minimize the risk of future violations.
After attorneys’ fees and costs are applied, each member of the class is expected to receive about $30 from the settlement.
Nixon Peabody’s Cybersecurity & Privacy Team has extensive experience counseling clients on TCPA compliance and in defending against TCPA claims.