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Recent Class Certification Against Bank Shows Risks of Wrong Numbers and Reassigned Numbers

The exterior façade of Citigroup's headquarters

A recent class certification ruling by the District Court in Arizona demonstrates several of the most dangerous aspects of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The case—Head v. Citibank—stems from alleged violations committed by a bank while making collections calls. The class contains over a million people, many of whom may have received more than one call. Eric Troutman at TCPAWorld writes that it is “likely the second biggest TCPA certification ruling in history” and puts the bank’s exposure at “north of a billion dollars.” Making things even worse, these alleged violations likely stem from wrong numbers and reassigned numbers.

In many ways, this case is the perfect storm of the TCPA’s most dangerous elements: per-call penalties of up to $500-pre-violation, the fact that the law is a strict liability statute, uncapped statutory damages, and the possibility of nationwide class actions. Just last month, we highlighted these factors in a thought leadership article about the TCPA dangers of wrong numbers. And we have consistently covered the risks associated with reassigned numbers. Right party identification and solving for reassigned numbers are indispensable aspects of TCPA compliance.