Pollo Operations Inc., proprietors of Pollo Tropical restaurants in Florida, offered to pay $975,000 to class members this year to settle a class action lawsuit that alleged the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
Pollo Tropical Operations
Pollo Tropical is a restaurant chain and franchise with headquarters in Miami-Dade County, Florida. It parent company, Pollo Operations Inc., manages over 140 Pollo Tropical eateries with sites in Florida and Georgia and in college campuses throughout the world, including New York City, Chicago, Latin America and the Caribbean.
During the last twenty years, Pollo had secured permission to deliver advertising, coupons and other marketing materials via internet, phone or text message to over one million customers; express text coupons were redeemable at participating Pollo Tropical establishments worldwide.
The plaintiff’s in this TCPA class action contend management failed to update their databases and consent forms before sending out volumes of marketing material over the last four years.
Pollo Operations Mass Markets Text Messages Without Consent
Between 2012 and 2017, Pollo allegedly distributed systematic marketing text messages to cell phone numbers while assuming that the owners consented to receiving the communication.
Class members (learn what are class members in a class action lawsuit) in this lawsuit assert former Pollo customers used their phones to register express consent to receive electronic marketing, and since then, service providers had reassigned the cellular numbers which dissolved any prior permission Pollo possessed to deliver spam marketing texts to these phones.
Plaintiffs further contend, in an attempt to obtain profits, the restaurant owners used robo-calling to send advertisement and promotional material in mass quantities, flooding cellular telephones with unwanted messages in explicit violation of federal statutes.
Pollo Tropical propaganda also produced “unwanted aggravation” among class members and economic burdens, as wireless carriers billed the plaintiffs every time they received an unsolicited announcement.
Judge Denies Class Action Motion to Dismiss
Pollo Operations denied violating the TCPA and refuted all class members’ claims. In May 2018, Judge Carlos E. Mendoza struck down the defendant’s motion to dismiss the TCPA class action, holding the defendant failed to produce evidence that proved the class members offered their express written consent to receive the automated marketing texts.
Pollo has since agreed to settle all claims to save on future legal expenses; yet, the company continues to deny any wrongdoing.
TCPA Class Action Lawsuits
Congress wrote the TCPA in 1991 with intent to shield consumers from annoying telemarketers and from other unwanted business solicitations.
Today, companies must first get permission before reaching out to their customers or before soliciting material to potential patrons; the TCPA further proscribes businesses from taking part in the following acts without first procuring a person’s written consent:
- Sending spam text messages;
- Contacting consumers via automated dialing machines or pre-recorded messages (robocalls);
- Soliciting patronage without first forming a business relationship with the prospect;
- Faxing unsolicited marketing material to businesses and residences without getting permission from the owner (junk faxes);
- Marketing via phone or text to individuals listed in the “National Do Not Call Registry” or in “no-call lists” set up in company databases;
The courts may award consumers between $500 and $1,500 per TCPA violation, obtainable via individual lawsuit filings or through joining class action proceedings against blameworthy defendants.
Who May File
Any person who secured a recycled cellular number from a wireless provider and who received text messages from Pollo Operations between March 1, 2012 and March 15, 2017 may take part in the Pollo Tropical class action settlement.
The previous owner of the plaintiff’s cellular number must have consented to receive Pollo marketing material via text messages, and class members must not have given the defendant permission to send them text messages after receiving their new phone number.
The Settlement Administrator will verify all claims by performing reverse telephone number searches in Pollo’s marketing database and comparing the information to public telephone records.
Required Proof and Potential Award
Pollo Tropical TCPA class members may claim up to $50 for each cell phone number that drew unsolicited text messages; final awards will depend on how many numbers the Settlement Administrator can verify and approve.
Claimants must also furnish the Settlement Administrator with confirmation of cellular number ownership for each number registered in their claim.
How to File a Claim
Potential Class members may file their claims online at the Claims Administrator’s website: https://secure.onlineclaimfilings.com/PTC/claimFiling
Claims Match wishes to mention to those who file claims that they do so under penalty of perjury. This means the courts may punish any plaintiff who files a fraudulent claim.
We recommend that TCPA victims first read the Pollo Tropical Class Action Settlement FAQ section before attempting to file their claims to discover if they qualify to take part in this lawsuit.
Read more about TCPA & FDCPA Violations
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