On Sept. 30, AT&T Mobility – the mobile arm of the telecommunications giant – signed off on a proposed agreement to settle a TCPA class action lawsuit in which it and its hired debt collection agencies allegedly called consumers’ cell phones using an autodialer without prior express consent.
The suit, filed in 2013 on behalf of a proposed class of about 16,000 people, alleges that AT&T Mobility and more than 20 named debt collection agencies hired by the company used automated dialing technology to call mobile numbers for the purposes of debt collection on accounts.
AT&T denies any wrongdoing, arguing that they obtained consent when consumers provided the phone numbers – in many cases issued by AT&T in the first place – as a point of contact. Further, AT&T claims, it nor its hired collection agencies used systems that fit the definition of “automatic telephone dialing system” under the TCPA.
After the parties went to mediation, a $45 million settlement agreement was presented to the presiding judge. The settlement is still subject to approval.
Each class member would be entitled to receive a payment for each call from the $45 million settlement fund, up to $500 per call, after attorneys’ fees and costs, an incentive award to the named plaintiff and settlement administration costs are deducted from the fund.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys in the case will be entitled to request up to $15 million for their compensation and the named plaintiff is set to earn $20,000.
In a completely unrelated matter, the FCC, FTC, and all 50 states’ and DC’s attorneys general today announced a $105 million settlement with AT&T Mobility in an enforcement action alleging illegal bill cramming.