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Annoyed Law Student Makes Stellantis Pay $8.5 Million for Ringless Voicemails

Stellantis called the wrong law student, and now has to pay out $8.95 million to settle claims it broke the Telephone Consumer Protection Act

 Annoyed Law Student Makes Stellantis Pay $8.5 Million for Ringless Voicemails

  • In 2018, FCA U.S. called 89,000 people around the country with an offer relating to the Pacifica Hybrid.
  • The automaker allegedly used “ringless” voicemails, leading a law student to sue the company for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
  • Now, the company has agreed to pay up to $8.95 million to settle the case.

When we cover class action lawsuits on this platform, they often relate to pretty important safety issues, but sometimes the suit is a little less serious than that. Sometimes, a company breaks an arcane rule preventing businesses from annoying consumers over the phone, and one of the people on its call list happens to be a tenacious law a student.

According to court documents, the dogged student, Miriam Grigorian, received a voicemail from FCA U.S. (which now belongs to the Stellantis empire) in 2018 about a hot deal on the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. She believed that the call was a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and has now managed to wrestle a settlement agreement out of the automaker.

Read: Did OnStar Spy On You? GM Faces New Lawsuit Over Driver Data, Rising Insurance Rates

Although FCA U.S. maintains that it did nothing wrong, it has agreed to pay the people who received that call about $60 each (or $25, if you’re part of another class action suit relating to Ram vehicles that was also settled as part of this agreement). That may not sound like much, but since the automaker called 89,000 people, that means that it could be on the hook for as much as $8.95 million.

The agreement comes as part of a hotly contested dispute that FCA U.S. initially managed to have summarily thrown out by a judge, but which was later appealed. Grigorian’s case centered around the fact that the automaker allegedly used what is known as a “ringless” voicemail, which cannot be blocked or answered by a recipient.

 Annoyed Law Student Makes Stellantis Pay $8.5 Million for Ringless Voicemails

As a result, the members of the class action suit did not consent to receiving this call, and the plaintiff alleges it is a violation of the TCPA. Even so, the court was unclear on what damage the calls had inflicted on the recipients, which Grigorian argued was the time she spent listening to the messages, instead of studying for the Florida bar exam.

Whether she was right or not, FCA U.S. is making the complaint go away by agreeing to this settlement, and will provide the court with the name of every potential class member, who will be alerted by first class mail that they may be entitled to some money and how to get it.

The message that FCA U.S. sent to class members follows:

On behalf of Chrysler brand headquarters with some exciting information about the new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid during Chrysler’s summer clearance event. Alternative fuel vehicle owners are eligible to receive an additional $1000 bonus cash above and beyond all current manufacturer and dealer incentives. This $1000 bonus cash is applicable to the lease or purchase of the new 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. This incentive is available for a limited time so please do not delay. Visit your closest Chrysler dealership and take advantage of your additional $1000 bonus cash.

 Annoyed Law Student Makes Stellantis Pay $8.5 Million for Ringless Voicemails

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