Grand Bahama Cruise Line has recently settled a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint that alleged the company and others that worked closely with them sent millions of illegal robocalls in only a few years. An order against Grand Bahama proposed a judgment greater than $7 million. The settlement marks a notable victory for consumers and the FTC, who have been struggling to fight robocallers, especially in recent years.
What Did Grand Bahama Allegedly Do?
According to FTC and Bureau of Consumer Protection investigations and complaints, which were not made official or charged through criminal court, Grand Bahama Cruise Line worked with six other defendants in 2014 to create a robocalling network. Operating out of the Florida home of one of the defendants, a hired team of telemarketers would place auto-dial calls to people all across the country. It is believed that several million of these robocalls were placed within the next four years before the FTC was able to close in on Grand Bahama.
The defendants were also accused of:
- Saving “Do Not Call Registries” against FTC regulations
- Calling people on “Do Not Call Registries”
- Calling people multiple times in succession after they asked to not be called again
- Presenting false identification when asked who was calling
The FTC noted that the companies behind Grand Bahama and the other defendants had been investigated by state-level consumer protection agencies before. In other words, the defendants could not reasonably argue that they were ignorant of FTC and Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) rules.
How Grand Bahama & Others Were Penalized
As part of the settlement, all defendants may never again work in a capacity that involves robocalling, including assisting other companies with robocalling tasks. This restriction may be the most significant part of the settlement since the defendants are not expected to be able to pay the $7.8 million judgment opposed against them.
However, the settlement is still significant in that it underscores the power of the FTC when backed by consumers. Had it not been for the multitude of consumer complaints filed to the FTC about the spam calls from Grand Bahama, investigations likely would have faltered, and the company would still be violating TCPA rules to this day.