Caribbean Cruise Line has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit to the tune of up to $76 million after the company made millions of so-called robocalls, violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Also named on the lawsuit are Vacation Ownership Marketing Tours, Inc. (VOMT), Economic Strategy Group, and The Berkley Group, Inc, a private timeshare resort development firm.
“We are extremely pleased with the settlement,” said Eve-Lynn J. Rapp, partner, Edelson PC, which has been working on the case since 2012.
Cruise Industry News first reported on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) database of complaints against Caribbean Cruise Line in the Spring 2013 Quarterly Magazine.
Essentially, the company made millions upon millions of calls offering a free cruise – at the time on Celebration Cruise Line – in exchange for a time share sales pitch. It also made the calls under the guise of political surveys, an alleged grey area, according to FTC complaints.
One complaint filed by a not-so-happy recipient of the call released to Cruise Industry News via a Freedom of Information Act Request, read: “I have repeatedly received sales calls offering a ‘free’ cruise to the Bahamas in return for answering pre-recorded ‘political surveys.’ Calls have continued even after requesting removal from the call list. Such calls may not be in technical violation of the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act), but would seem to violate the spirit of the law.”
Caribbean Cruise Line was located at the same Ft. Lauderdale address as Celebration Cruise Line, according to the lawsuit which cited the Florida Secretary of State. The company did not operate ships.
“In addition, Caribbean Cruise Line and Celebration Cruise Line are run by the same principals, as is VOMT,” the lawsuit stated.
Celebration, meanwhile, ended operations after an incident in the Bahamas with its Bahamas Celebration in 2014. A similar company, with similar executives, started up soon after operating the Grand Celebration.
The lawsuit filing also said that Caribbean Cruise Line was believed to be responsible for 30 percent of passengers booked on Celebration Cruise Line’s 1,500-passenger ship, which sailed every two days from the Port of Palm Beach.
Plaintiffs that received a call are entitled to up to $500 per call, for up to three calls, up to a total of $76 million for the class. If the settlement reaches $76 million, per call damages will move to a pro rata share.
According to the Settlement Agreement, $30 million will be put aside for members of the class immediately.
More information is available here: https://www.freecruisecallclassaction.net/Home.aspx