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Synchrony Bank TCPA Violations
By Jane Mundy
Synchrony Bank has been accused of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Thousands of people nationwide who received artificial or automatic telephone dialing systems were involved in the Synchrony Bank TCPA Class Action Lawsuit and Synchrony Bank settlement. Since the settlement more Synchrony Bank lawsuits have been filed and attorneys are looking into recent Synchrony Bank TCPA violations.
Complaints have been filed by people nationwide accusing Synchrony Bank of violating the TCPA by placing robocalls (a call dialed from a computer) on their cell phones without prior consent. Plaintiffs said they incurred either phone charges or reduced cellular telephone time by having to retrieve the messages left by Synchrony.
Synchrony Bank and TCPA Violations
The TCPA makes it unlawful to use an automatic telephone dialing system, or a pre-recorded or artificial voice, when calling someone’s cell phone. Unless consent is given, such a call violates the TCPA, regardless the purpose of the call. The only exceptions are emergency calls, including 911 calls, or the emergency line of a hospital, medical physician or service office, health care facility, poison control center, or fire protection or law enforcement agency. In other words, if an automated dialer (robocall) or pre-recorded or artificial voice is used to call or text message your cell phone, that call has violated the TCPA.
The TCPA also prohibits pre-recorded messages for calls made to residential telephone lines, but it only applies to solicitations from telemarketers/sellers with whom the consumer does not have an "established business relationship." It also restricts telemarketers from calling consumers who have registered with the Do-Not-Call Registry.
The TCPA provides for damages of $500 per phone call. And, if the recipient can prove the caller willfully or knowingly violated the TCPA, a court may increase the damages up to $1,500 per call.
The Synchrony Bank (formerly GE Capital Retail Bank) settled a class action lawsuit in 2016 over allegations it violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Lead plaintiffs Muhammed Abdeljalil, Richard Springer, Joseph Hofer and Bradley Moore filed the TCPA class action lawsuit against the bank after allegedly receiving daily robocalls from Synchrony on their cell phones without giving consent. Synchrony has set aside $7 million to settle claims for all or “all persons nationwide whose cellular telephone number, at any time on or after August 22, 2008 through June 16, 2016 Synchrony called regarding an account that did not belong to him or her and did not provide the number to Synchrony or is not a person who consented to receiving calls at that cellular telephone number.”
TCPA Synchrony Bank Class Action Settlement
GE Capital Retail Bank denies all wrongdoings but agreed to settle the class action lawsuit to avoid the risk and expense of further litigation. The case is Abdeljalil, et al. v. GE Capital Retail Bank Case No. 3:12-02078-JAH-MDD, District Court for the Southern District of California. (All claims had to be filed no later than November 14, 2016.)
Plaintiff Avroham Deutsch filed a TCPA class action lawsuit on April 4, 2016 against Synchrony Bank and Amazon.com Inc., claiming defendants made numerous calls to his phone on a daily basis. Case Number: 3:16cv1673.
TCPA Synchrony Bank Class Action Lawsuit
Staci Watkins filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that Synchrony Bank harassed her with continued use of automated phone calls and pressuring her to pay a credit card debt from May 2014 through September 2014. The lawsuit claims that Synchrony debt collection practices violated the TCPA by:
Other TCPA Synchrony Lawsuits
Synchrony Bank counterclaimed, arguing it was entitled to a money judgment against Watkins for failure to pay the credit card bill.
Watkins filed a motion to dismiss the Synchrony Bank debt collection counterclaim. Her TCPA lawyer argued the breach of the credit card contract constituted a separate transaction or occurrence. The debt collection claim was not relevant to whether or not Synchrony Bank’s use of the auto-dialer violated the TCPA. Synchrony Bank’s debt collection claim arose out of a State law breach of contract, whereas. Watkin’s claim arose out of a violation of a federal consumer protection law.
In Watkins v. Synchrony Bank Case No. 4:15-CV-00842, the Court stated that allowing debt collection counterclaims by creditors would discourage victims of collection agency abuse from filing consumer rights claims in court.
Synchrony Bank Debt Collection Dismissed
In 2015 Fred Horenburger complained to the TCPA that Synchrony Bank and Bank of America repeatedly called his cell phone, although he doesn’t have accounts with either bank and he told them repeatedly to stop. He filed lawsuits against the banks in United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. (The cases have been assigned numbers 9:15cv80034 and 9:2014cv81600). He is seeking at least $500 for each call he alleges violated the TCPA.
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