Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, Inc. is on the receiving end of a proposed class action filed over the car dealership group’s alleged practice of placing robocalls to consumers’ cell phones without obtaining prior express consent to do so.
The two plaintiffs claim that even after they demanded Berkshire Hathaway stop calling, the defendant, which operates 85 dealerships and 100 automotive franchises in the U.S., continued contacting their cell phones to promote its products.
“Plaintiffs and class members never consented to receive these calls,” the complaint avers. “Defendant nonetheless engaged in a nationwide telemarketing campaign designed to sell their products to consumers.”
According to the suit, Berkshire Hathaway has placed telemarketing calls to consumers without implementing the policies and procedures required by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act prior to making the calls. Under the TCPA, companies are prohibited from using automated dialing technology for non-emergency calls unless they first obtain consent from the recipient and steer clear of numbers on an internal do-not-call list.
One plaintiff says she purchased two cars from the defendant, one in 2011 and another in 2015, after which she ended her relationship with the company when it refused to honor a warranty for one of the vehicles. Despite having no contact with Berkshire Hathaway for two years, the plaintiff began receiving calls regarding promotional offers for new vehicles from the auto seller in August 2018, the suit says. Per the complaint, the woman received three to four calls per week for seven months even though she “regularly” requested that the calls cease.
After the plaintiff’s wife contacted the defendant by phone, email and online demanding that the calls stop, a manager called to apologize and acknowledged that the calls should not have been made, the lawsuit says.
The second plaintiff relays he purchased a vehicle from the defendant in March 2017 and, starting in July 2019, began receiving telephone solicitations from the company. Despite several requests that the calls cease, Berkshire Hathaway continued calling the plaintiff until “shortly after” he posted an online review of the dealership in March 2020, according to the complaint.
The man alleges the calls were placed using an automatic telephone dialing system based on both his “extensive call center experience” and the distinctive “click and pause” sound heard upon answering the phone. Per the complaint, the technology can be used to dial thousands of phone numbers “automatically with no human intervention.”
The case alleges the plaintiffs and proposed class members have suffered “actual injury,” including reduced device storage, lost time, mental energy, invasion of privacy, nuisance, and deprivation of their right to stop further calls.
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