Thomas Buchanan of Texas decided to fight back against robocalls and telemarketers by suing them.
Are you one of the countless Americans receiving an over-abundance of unsolicited robocalls? I know I am. Day in and day out it feels as if my phone is constantly ringing from pesky telemarketers and other unwanted callers. One man recently decided to do something about all the calls he was receiving, though. And maybe what he did will inspire others to push back against robocalls. Sick of unwanted calls, Thomas Buchanan fought back against the robocalls and telemarketers by suing the companies behind them. One of the companies he went after was Sirius XM satellite radio, a company he ended reaching a $32 million settlement with.
Buchanan first got the idea to go after the dozens of telemarketers and robocalls he was receiving when he was “home resting on doctor’s orders.” Instead of resting, though, he was stressing over the unwanted calls he kept receiving. Finally, after days of listening to his phone ring, he had enough. Determined to do something about the calls, he “pulled out his laptop and hatched a plan.” He said, “I started with a spreadsheet, and I started logging each of the calls.”
It’s important to note that he was receiving the calls despite being on the federal ‘do not call’ registry. That meant the companies calling him were “violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA.” As part of his plan, he “built a database of phone numbers, times and dates then used the information to file a small claims lawsuit against a doors and windows company” that wouldn’t stop calling him. According to Buchanan, “the company offered to settle out of court for $3,500.” From there, he continued preparing more cases against other companies when he stumbled upon one that would be too big for small claims court, Sirius XM satellite radio.
According to Buchanan’s spreadsheet, he had received 16 unwanted calls from the radio company and wanted to file a claim for damages exceeding $50,000. Because of the size of the case, he had to find a law firm to help him. Fortunately, he found one within a year with Hughes Ellzey. After doing some digging his legal team discovered “Sirius had made millions of similar calls.” “I said ‘there are enough families in enough homes getting these phone calls that this needs to be a nationwide class-action lawsuit’… and that’s how it was filed,” Buchanan said when discussing the suit he filed against Sirius XM. The suit itself was filed in March 2017 and Buchanan spent the following two years as the lead plaintiff in the case.
Eventually, the case grew to “include several law firms and about 14 million customers.” Finally, the company agreed to settle the suit last summer for $32 million and a Dallas judge is expected to sign off on the settlement soon.
When commenting on how much his efforts have changed his life, Buchanan said, “Listen – do you hear this? That’s the sound of silence. My phone is not ringing.” He added that nowadays he gets excited when a telemarketer calls him and said, “Please call me! Because I will hunt you down, I will track you down, and you will be prosecuted.”