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Myth Busted!: Robocall Radar Founder Alex Algard Joins the Ramble and Debunks the Myth that Banks and Finance Companies Make Most Unwanted Robocalls

 

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There’s a lot of wild robocall claims out there.

The one that concerned us the most here at TCPAland.com, however, was the one found in the NCLC’s comment to the FCC a few months ago. In that comment the NCLC told the Commission that we know “well enough” who is placing the majority of robocalls–and then proceeded to name numerous banks and finance companies.

The source of NCLC’s claims? The Robocall Index provided by robocall app manufacturer YouMail.

But, as uncovered by the Ramble in a crucial interview with YouMail’s CEO Alex Quilici a few weeks ago, the Robocall Index does not purport to track unwanted calls–which is what people associate with robocalls– just mass calling.

And it turns out that the majority of those “robocalls” the NCLC claimed banks and finance companies are sending to consumers are actually wanted account balance notifications, fraud alerts and the like. In light of these facts–the NCLC’s comment to the FCC sounded a lot like “fake news.” 

Well there is a rival Robocall tracker out there– one that actually tries to track unwanted robocalls, as opposed to just mass calling activity. The index is called the “Robocall Radar” and it is put out by an innovative company called Hiya.

Notably, although the oft-cited Robocall Index claims that 5.1BB robocalls were placed in October, 2018 alone, the Robocall Radar notes that only 5.9BB unwanted robocalls were placed in the three months comprising the second quarter of 2018. So the Robocall Radar’s numbers suggest that over half of the calls included in YouMail’s “robocall index” are actually wanted calls.

In fact, according to Hiya’s data, calls definitively identified as debt collection calls account for only 2.1% of the population of unwanted robocalls2.1%!. That looks way different than the claims of the NCLC who told the FCC: “Banks, credit card companies, retailers, and debt collectors, all of whom were collecting debts, according to the robocall blocker, took seventeen of the top twenty spots [for top robocallers].”

Intrigued by the Robocall Radar’s findings, we invited Hiya CEO Alex Algard to join the Ramble. He accepted–making him the first Ramble guest with his own wikipedia page— and boy are we glad he did.

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Alex Algard

Listen to the interview–found here–to learn:

  • What is Hiya and how is the company setting out to change the phone call experience for everyone?
  • How does the Robocall Radar track unwanted robocalls and why do debt collectors account for such a small percentage of calls it picks up?
  • How does Hiya’s innovative caller ID services help businesses assure their customers that it is actually the business calling and not some third party spoofer?
  • Why does Hiya choose not to do business with companies that offer to turn its call blocking app into a lawyer referral service for class action attorneys?

The last point is really a critical one. We were surprised to learn from Alex that he has been contacted on several occasions by shadowy groups that want to monetize his company’s data by selling it to the hungry TCPA class action bar.  We have very strong opinions about that sort of things and Alex happily reported that Hiya’s robocall blocking applications would never engage in such mischief.

Before you get to the interview, the team will break down all of the recent huge developments in TCPAland, including:

  • The first out-of-circuit opinion applying Marks to deny a Defendant’s motion to dismiss in Adams v. Ocwen.
  • Opt-out Evaders you are not welcome here! In Epps v. Earth Fare, the Plaintiff allegedly sought to stop text messages from Defendant with plain language texts such as “I would appreciate [it] if we discontinue any further texts” opposed to using the word “STOP” as instructed. The lower court found that Plaintiff did not reasonably revoke and therefore granted Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss. Good job, Ninth Circuit.
  • Mussat v. IQVIA, Inc. is a putative nationwide TCPA junk fax class action in which the Plaintiff – a resident of Illinois – sued the Defendant – a nonresident Delaware corporation – for faxes the Plaintiff received in the state. The Defendant moved to strike Plaintiff’s class definition to the extent it sought to include claims of nonresident class members. It argued that based on Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Court did not have specific jurisdiction over the claims of the nonresident class members because the claims “do not arise out of, or relate to, IQVIA’s contacts with Illinois.” The Court did not flinch in granting the motion.
  • Dennis v. IDT Corp. is an interesting contrast to the Mussat case out of the Northern District of Illinois, where the court reached a contrary holding that was animated by concerns over the consistent and equal application of a defendant’s due process rights.
  • The Western District of Pennsylvania rejects primary jurisdiction doctrine in TCPA case because of “Minimal Risk” of inconsistent ATDS rulings in Baum v. Civ. A. Lenihan ADT LLC. This case doesn’t even make sense. Just take a look at our ATDS scorecard.
  • We also discuss the Ninth Circuit’s denial of the en banc re-hearing request in Marks and other related developments.

As always you cannot miss this groundbreaking episode of the Ramble. Alex is a fantastic guest and Hiya is working hard to keep the world safe for legitimate businesses who are trying to contact their customers over the phone.

 

 

 

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