Everybody hates robocalls. Those calls that come dressed in your hometown area code, only to blast the overly chipper recorded voice of some Turing-weak salespaperson with a fabulous new credit card offer or a cruise to the Bahamas in exchange for your Social Security number.
Carver County resident Kristi Driggers hates them so much she's suing a series of big banks -- U.S. Bank, Citibank, and Capital One -- that have been calling her nonstop.
Driggers owes all these banks money, which makes her case an uphill fight, but she contends their practice of collectively blowing up her cell phone more than 600 times over the span of four months is harassment. She's demanding damages of $1,500 per call.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which is overseen -- though not well enforced -- by the Federal Communications Commission, states that most unwanted robocalls are illegal. Scam calls are against the law, of course, but so are auto-dialed calls made without the receiver's consent.
The challenge with Driggers' case is that bank terms and conditions require their customers give that permission. Her lawsuits state that even though she explicitly revoked consent during these phone calls with the banks by telling them to stop, they wouldn't.
The U.S. Bank case was dismissed January 3 after the bank denied or claimed ignorance of Driggers' allegations. The Citibank case was closed as well on February 6, after Citibank compelled mandatory arbitration per Driggers' contract.
It was never actually determined whether either bank violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
The Capital One suit is still alive, however. Driggers' attorney Andrew Walker says even though companies usually try to force arbitration and delay proceedings to drain their opponent's money, he's hopeful that Driggers will receive some damages because her case is open and shut.
"She said stop, they kept doing it. What's there to argue about?"
Meanwhile, the lawsuits did succeed in getting the banks to stop bothering Driggers, the attorney says, though he believes she still gets the nuisance scam calls offering free stays at hotels.
"Those are definitely in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, but you can't find out who's making those calls, so you can't ask them to stop," he says. "It's like tyring to sue like a squirrel or something. Nothing's going to come of it, nothing can be done about it. It might as well be like a computer in a basement in Pakistan or something."