Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. has agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the lender of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by calling noncustomer cellphones without consent, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. As many as 10,000 individuals could have been affected.
According to court documents, Nissan Motor Acceptance was trying to contact customers indebted to the lender, but instead contacted third parties, such as family members.
"Plaintiffs allege that Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation used its auto-dialer to place those calls and conveyed prerecorded messages to third parties who had not consented to receive such calls," according to the 25-page preliminary approval for a motion for settlement filed March 18.
Nissan Motor Acceptance said it contacted only third parties whose numbers had been provided as contact numbers by its borrowers.
"In the event the customer falls behind, NMAC initiates calls to the available numbers on that customer's account -- which may include those of third parties," the motion said.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1991, prohibits robocalls without the receiving party's consent, unless "such calls are necessary in an emergency situation affecting the health and safety of the consumer."