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Time Warner Owes $229,500 for Robocalls to the Wrong Person

Many people dislike receiving robocalls. Araceli King disliked receiving 153 of them from a single company.

A Manhattan federal judge ruled that Time Warner Cable must pay insurance claims specialist Araceli King, $229,500 for placing 153 automated calls to her cellphone in less than a year, even after she told it to stop. King accused Time Warner Cable of harassing her by leaving messages for Luiz Perez, who once had the same cellphone number as she does, even after she made it clear who she was.

The calls were made through an “interactive voice response” system meant for customers who were late paying bills.

Time Warner Cable claims that it is not liable under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a law meant to curb robocall and telemarketing abuses, because it believed it was calling Perez, who had consented to the calls.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein awarded triple damages of $1,500 per call for willfully violating that law. 74 of the calls had been placed after King sued in March 2014, and Time Warner Cable claimed that still did not know King objected to the calls.

“Defendant harassed plaintiff with robo-calls until she had to resort to a lawsuit to make the calls stop, and even then TWC could not be bothered to update the information in its IVR system,” Hellerstein wrote.

A trial had been scheduled for July 27. Time Warner Cable spokeswoman Susan Leepson said the New York-based company is reviewing the decision.

“Companies are using computers to dial phone numbers,” King’s lawyer Sergei Lemberg said in a phone interview. “They benefit from efficiency, but there is a cost when they make people’s lives miserable. This was one such case.”

The case is King v Time Warner Cable, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-02018.


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