Tackling Challenges in TCPA Class Action Administration

The Telephone Consumer Act (TCPA) restricts telemarketing and the use of automated telephone equipment such as pre-recorded voice messages and automatic dialing systems. The act aims to protect consumers from unsolicited phone calls and messages. TCPA cases against companies allegedly contacting consumers in violation of the act bring unique challenges that require unique solutions from your class action settlement administrator to satisfy due process and gain final approval. 

Using telephone reverse lookup to develop an address list for mailings can be hit or miss. 

Heffler works with our data providers to provide us with the dates associated with the names and addresses returned from reverse lookup. For projects with longer class periods, it is essential to know during what time interval the phone number was associated with the name and address on file. This critical information allows us to use multiple reverse data sources, which vary from vendor to vendor, to identify the most current record. Using the most recent name/address available from multiple sources saves money on mailing costs and overall notice efforts. 

The class period has to be taken into account prior to first notice. 

U.S. residences and businesses change phone numbers often, especially if considering a longer class period. Current phone number owners might not be the same person as the number owner during the class period. Unless this is properly remedied, notice would be delivered to the wrong individual, resulting in larger potential costs and duplicate efforts. Keeping track of the date of phone ownership eliminates sending notice to non-class members and cuts back on unnecessary expenses. 

Unless the claims administrator tracks the source of data used for a mailing, follow-up notice will not be effective. 

Direct notice to class members is always preferred over advertising-based solutions, reducing the potential for fraudulent claims and giving more control over brand identity. Coding mail pieces with the source of the data allows settlement administrators to track where the data came from. If the mail is returned marked undeliverable, the administrator should check to see if alternate addresses are available from a second or third data source. 

Knowing where claims come from allows for easier verification. 

Without a method for identifying where a claim surfaced there is not a way to flag claims for additional scrutiny. With the momentum of social media, class members are alerted to class action settlement benefits for which they are not legitimately eligible. Using class member identification that is securely contained within a sealed notice allows the administrator to differentiate claims made by class members in the original data set provided by the defendant vs class members who found the settlement through other channels. This allows additional fraud, waste, and abuse monitoring and provides the judiciary with peace of mind that only legitimate claims are being paid. 

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James Prutsman
James (Jim) Prutsman has more than 20 years of experience in the administration of some of the highest profile class action settlements in the United States. He is a recognized expert with extensive experience in the planning, development of systems, process and procedures for the successful administration of hundreds of matters.

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