New TCPA Action Against Card Issuer Highlights Growing Area Of Litigation Risk

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Explore:  Credit Cards TCPA

On January 29, a credit card holder filed a putative class action against a card issuer that funds consumer retail credit accounts for customers of a major retail chain, alleging that the issuer violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in attempting to collect on the card holder’s credit card debt. Complaint, French v. Target Nat’l Bank, No. 13-233 (S.D. Cal. filed Jan. 29, 2013). The named plaintiff claims that after she fell behind on her payments, the issuer began making numerous calls daily to her personal cell phone, a number she claims not to have provided to the issuer. The issuer allegedly used an “automatic telephone dialing system” to make the calls, which the card holder claims continued even after she notified the issuer that it was not authorized to contact her on her cellular phone, and asked that the calls cease. The card holder alleges that in doing so, the issuer violated the TCPA, which requires express written consent from a consumer prior to receiving calls from an automated dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice. On behalf of the proposed class, the card holder is seeking $500 in statutory damages for each and every alleged negligent violation, and treble damages for each alleged knowing or willful violation. The suit is the latest in a growing number of cases to be filed in recent years, particularly in California, and highlights a significant litigation risk for card issuers and debt collectors.