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Persons who received telemarketing calls on behalf of Birch Communications may qualify for payments under a recent anti-telemarketing settlement.

Persons who received telemarketing calls on behalf of Birch Communications may qualify for payments under a recent anti-telemarketing settlement.

This robocall class action lawsuit was brought by plaintiff Abante Rooter and Plumbing, a California-based plumbing business owned by Fred Heidarpour. Abante alleged that defendant Birch Communications, a firm that provides technology and telecommunications services to businesses, placed a telemarketing call to an Abante-owned mobile phone in September 2015.

The Abante representative who took the call allegedly heard a click and a long pause before hearing a response. The click and pause were evidence that the call was placed using an automatic telephone dialing system, the plaintiff claimed.

Abante said it never gave Birch Communications its consent to be contacted in this manner.

By making such automatically-dialed and unconsented calls, Birch Communications was allegedly in violation of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA.

Generally, the TCPA forbids callers from using certain automated equipment or prerecorded messages to place calls to persons who have not previously and expressly consented to being called that way.

The TCPA also provided legal authority to set up the National Do Not Call Registry. Telemarketers that call numbers listed on that registry may be in violation of the TCPA.

Persons who receive calls that violate the TCPA may be able to bring a civil TCPA lawsuit against the caller. Plaintiffs may be able to take advantage of the TCPA’s statutory damages provisions, which provide for $500 to $1,500 in damages for each violating call.

Before filing this TCPA lawsuit, Abante wrote to Birch Communications asking if Birch had Abante’s prior express consent to place robocalls to Abante. Birch responded – incorrectly – that the TCPA does not apply to business numbers.

Under terms of this TCPA class action settlement, Birch Communications has agreed to set up a $12 million settlement fund. The fund will cover payments to be distributed to Class Members who submit valid and timely claims. It also covers an incentive award for Abante Rooter and Plumbing as the named plaintiff, court costs and attorneys’ fees, and the costs of administering the settlement.

Who’s Eligible

Class Members eligible to make a claim include persons who, on or after Oct. 27, 2011, were called by Meehan Marketing, Proficient Marketing Group, or Wellfleet Communications in an effort to promote Birch Communications services; and those calls either were placed to a cellular phone using an automatic telephone dialing system or prerecorded voice, or were placed two or more times within a 12-month period to a residential telephone number that was listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Potential Award

Up to $200.

Class Members who submit valid and timely claims can get payments estimated to be worth $100 to $200 per claim. Claims are scheduled to be paid in two payments, the first in December 2018 and the second in June 2020.

Proof of Purchase

The settlement administrator does not request any other documentation besides the information requested on the Claim Form.

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