Comenity Bank is on the receiving end of a proposed class action filed over the bank’s alleged practice of placing autodialed calls to the family and friends of purported debtors.
According to the lawsuit, Comenity uses an automated telephone dialing system to place debt collection calls meant to “terrorize the alleged debtor through harassment of their friends and relatives.” In truth, the case says, there is nothing at all “urgent” about Comenity’s communications, which the bank ultimately aims will force an apparent debtor’s friends and family to urge the individual to pay a purported debt. From the complaint:
“Comenity creates this false sense of ‘urgency’ as a way to panic family members and friends with the hopes that they will call the alleged debtor and further instill panic in them, as well as to force the debtor to experience extreme embarrassment by forcing them to explain the debt-collection purpose behind the call to the friend or relative. Ultimately, another purpose of this tactic is to make it so that family and friends feel harassed and demand that the alleged debtor resolve the debt to end the harassment.”
This practice, the case argues, violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act as the bank is placing automated, non-emergency calls to consumers’ cell phones without obtaining prior consent to do so. Per the plaintiff, the case states the individual has no relationship with Comenity, which placed several robocalls despite possessing knowledge that it was calling the wrong number.
The case looks to cover the following proposed class:
“(1) All persons in the United States (2) to whose cellular telephone number (3) Comenity placed a non-emergency telephone call relating to a debt (4) using substantially the same system(s) that were used to telephone Plaintiff (5) within 4 years of the filing of this complaint and (6) where Comenity did not have express consent to call said cellular telephone number.”