Lender sued over pre-recorded call

Lender now facing complaint and lawsuit under Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Lender sued over pre-recorded call

A lawsuit filed in California last week alleges that First California Financial Inc., violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) when it contacted one Evelyn Ofiteru and others with a pre-recorded message without express written consent as  mandated by the TCPA.

Allegedly, First California Financial left a pre-recorded voice message with Ms. Ofiteru which said the following:

“Just wanted to give you a follow-up call on mortgage interest rates, currently we’re at 2.75% with 0 points, so if you’reinterested give me a call back 714 606 8400 and I’ll be happy to go over the options with you. Have a great day.”

According to the lawsuit, the message both constitutes telemarketing, could be clearly identified as a pre-recorded message, and the plaintiff had not given her express written consent to be contacted by prerecorded message.

The plaintiff has brought the suit as a class action “on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated.” The lawsuit defined the class as, “All persons in the United States who, within four years prior to the filing of this action, (1) were sent a prerecorded message  by  or  on  behalf  of  Defendant,  (2)  regarding  Defendant’s goods,  products  or  services,  and  (4)  for  which  Defendant  failed  to secure the called party’s express written consent.”

In a blog post on legal news aggregator Lexology, Eric J. Troutman from the law firm of Squire Patton Boggs noted that these suits have become more frequent in the mortgage industry as lenders seek to market low rates.

He noted, as well, that the phrase in the call “just wanted to give you a follow-up” suggest that there might have been a previous interaction between the plaintiff and First California Financial.

“The takeaway here is clear– steer clear of pre-recorded calls and voicemails unless you have valid PWEC folks,” Troutman wrote in the blog. “These claims are perfectly viable…”  

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