Allied Interstate, and its parent company, iQor Holdings, have agreed to pay $9 million to settle a lawsuit filed by 18 California county prosecutors that alleged the collection agency violated the state’s Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act by contacting individuals on their cell phones using an automatic telephone dialing system without obtaining the proper consent.
The suit was originally filed in September 2016 by the District Attorney of Santa Clara County, Calif., along with the district attorneys from Los Angeles, San Diego, and Riverside counties. Fourteen other California DAs subsequently joined the case as additional plaintiffs. The original complaint sought $10 million in damages from the defendants.
Allied and iQor will pay $8 million in civil penalties, which will be spread out over a two-year period, and will repay the counties $1 million to offset the costs of investigating the case and filing the lawsuit. The settlement was approved by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Tuesday. The companies have also agreed to stop:
- Making calls at an unreasonable frequency that could constitute harassment;
- Calling phone numbers that the call recipients have identified as wrong numbers;
- Calling numbers when the recipients request to stop getting calls; and
- Using robo-dialing technology to call consumers’ cell phones without the consumers’ consent.
When announcing the lawsuit, the Santa Clara DA noted that one man received 126 calls from the defendants, even though he did not have a debt placed with the companies.
“It’s not just irritating to get bombarded with these harassing calls, it’s illegal,” said Jeff Rosen, the Santa Clara DA, in a statement. “We will vigilantly protect the consumer rights of Santa Clara County residents.”