February 14, 2014

Bank of America customers could be due money for robocalls

Settlement resolves several lawsuits that claim bank violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

If you received collection calls on your cellphone from Bank of America in the past few years, you could be in line for $40.

The Charlotte bank agreed to a $32 million settlement in September, resolving several class action lawsuits alleging Bank of America illegally used robocall systems to contact credit card and mortgage customers on their cellphones. A judge approved the deal in December.

Attorneys in the case are now looking for people to sign up to be part of the settlement. The deadline to file a claim is next month. People will get between $20 and $40, depending on how many file claims.

Bank of Amerca denies wrongdoing. “We’re pleased to resolve this matter,” spokeswoman Betty Reiss said in a statement. “Bank of America denies the allegations, but agreed to settle the claims to avoid further legal costs.”

This settlement is one of the latest in a wave of legal actions related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which restricts businesses from using automatic dialers to call cellphones unless they have specific permission to do so. Companies from student lender Sallie Mae to Papa John’s have all settled claims in the past few years.

Last week, a Davidson man sued Wells Fargo claiming the bank repeatedly called his cellphone in error despite being asked to stop.

Consumer advocates are happy about the rise in litigation, saying the law is meant not just to keep people from losing cell minutes, but also to keep from repeated daily interruptions, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Companies, though, say that auto-dialers are the only efficient way to reach people and point out that a lot of people only have cellphones these days.

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