Plaintiff alleges that Sunrun is overzealous with automated calls
I Gotta Wear Shades
Sunrun, Inc., a Nevada-based solar power company, installs, maintains and repairs residential solar power systems. This turnkey approach, with little or no support required from the consumer, has garnered more than 180,000 clients in 21 states for the company. In an industry that is subject to highs and lows, Sunrun’s survival for the past 11 years is a mark of distinction in its own right. Sunrun boasted profits of $124.5 million and sales of $529.7 million in 2017.
Like its peers in the solar power industry, the company’s marketing efforts appeal to the unique proposition of alternative energy capitalism: Customers both save money and help the environment.
Talkin’ on Sunshine
According to one consumer, however, Sunrun’s marketing efforts include numerous unsolicited phone calls.
California consumer Susan Knapp claims in her recently filed class action suit that Sunrun called her multiple times, beginning around August 2017, to promote its solar equipment. The plaintiff alleges that these calls came despite the fact that she never consented to them, and her number had been listed on the National Do Not Call Registry since 2009. The complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California on March 8, 2018.
The case is split between two classes – the class of consumers who received calls from Sunrun without giving prior express consent, and the class of consumers who received calls from Sunrun despite being listed on the Do Not Call Registry.
Knapp admits in the suit to not knowing the overall number of class members, but she assumes that they “number in the thousands, if not more.”
The complaint alleges that Sunrun is liable for negligent and knowing and/or willful violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which are allegations that can cost defendants $500 and $1,500, respectively, per call. With numbers like these, the overall damages could be quite significant – well over the minimum $5 million amount in controversy required for federal court jurisdiction.
Based on these types of allegations and high potential damages, companies that engage in telemarketing continue to face high risks and costly consequences, including class action lawsuits. Companies should look to work with legal counsel when anticipating compliance issues with the TCPA and related regulatory schemes.