January 7th, 2013

Last month we reported on the problem of roto-dialers being used to contact consumers on cellular phones. Essentially, consumers had been contacted (without their permission) by marketers and debt collectors with pre-recorded messages to gauge interest in new products or sent text messages (at the consumer’s expense) regarding sales or special offers.

All of which violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and several class actions have emanated from these violations. The latest class action involves banking giant HSBC. In Stephen Comstock v. HSBC Bank U.S.A., class members allege that HSBC used roto-dialers to initiate unsolicited calls on their cell phones.

Through pleadings filed before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, the named plaintiff insists that he had never been an HSBC customer and did not give the bank his contact information. He also alleges that he notified the bank that he wanted the calls to stop, but HSBC did nothing to abate them.

The plaintiffs further claim that HSBC invaded their privacy and cost them money because they were required to pay for the incoming calls. They are seeking statutory damages (up to $1500 per willful violation).

While the class is yet to be certified, it may include all people within the United States who received an automatic, unsolicited phone call from HSBC on their cell phone within the last four years.

We believe this case is important because it is exemplifies the lengths corporations will go to sell products without regard to the law. If you have questions about TCPA violations, an experienced attorney can advise you.

Source:, HSBC Auto-dial class action lawsuit, January 6, 2013

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