Nobody likes robocalls — those automated phone calls to your cellphone that deliver recorded messages, often from debt collectors. And one woman just found out that if a company is robocalling you by mistake, it may owe you money — maybe a whole lot of money.
According to Reuters, after Time Warner Cable made 153 calls by mistake to Araceli King in just one year, a federal judge ruled the company now owes her $229,500 — $1,500 for each call. The calls, that were supposed to be for someone else, were made through an automated system meant for people who are late paying their bills.
King says she made it very clear to the company that she was not the person they were looking for, but the calls continued.
Know your rights under the law
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act prohibits companies from making robocalls to your cellphone without proper identification — making sure that the owner of the cellphone is, in fact, the person it is trying to reach. When King accused Time Warner Cable of harassing her by leaving so many messages, the company said it wasn’t to blame, because it thought it was calling the right person, who had consented to the calls. But a federal judge didn’t buy it. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said the company should have tried harder to find the right person and straighten it out. And the kicker: 74 of those 153 calls were apparently made after King sued back in March of last year.
So what’s the lesson all consumers can learn from King’s story? Know your rights when dealing with debt collectors. Even if you do owe the debt, you still have rights. Click here for a breakdown of what you need to know in order to protect yourself.
Read more: How to avoid PayPal and eBay robocalls