Honda Finance Corp. Hit With TCPA Suit Over Debt Robocalls

By Suevon Lee

Law360, Los Angeles (January 31, 2017, 4:40 PM EST) -- American Honda Motor Co.'s car loan financing division was hit with a putative class action in California state court over its alleged use of automatic telephone dialing to collect on past due notices, a practice the suit argues violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Los Angeles resident Michelle Adame is suing the Torrance, California-based American Honda Finance Corp. on behalf of a nationwide class of people who in the last four years received calls from the company through an automatic telephone dialing service or an artificial or prerecorded voice.

Adame in her Jan. 27 complaint argues that American Honda Finance invaded her privacy and subjected her to "numerous unwanted calls" that created a nuisance and shortened her cellphone battery life. The TCPA is designed to curb telemarketing calls and ATDS.

"Plaintiff did not provide defendant or its agent prior express consent to receive calls to her cellular telephone, including by means of an ATDS and/or artificial or prerecorded voice message," the suit states.

American Honda Finance provides financing for car loans and administers car service contracts sold by Honda dealers in the U.S.

The repeat telephone calls to Adame's cellphone reputedly began in June 2014 and lasted through August 2016. The complaint alleges that American Honda Finance was attempting to collect on an alleged debt owed by Adame's father, although her cellphone number is not listed on a loan application completed by her father.

"Upon information and belief, the telephone equipment used by defendant has the capacity to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator," the suit states. "According to an online job posting by a former employee of defendant, the telephone equipment used by defendant is capable of predictive dialing."

In addition to class certification, Adame seeks damages amounting to $500 for each violation of the TCPA for herself and each class member, plus injunctive relief and a jury trial.

The complaint brings two causes of action: negligent violation of the TCPA and knowing and/or willful violations of the statute.

A representative for American Honda Motor Co. couldn't immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Adame is represented by Abbas Kazerounian and Jason A. Ibey of Kazerouni Law Group APC and Joshua B. Swigart of Hyde & Swigart.

Counsel information for American Honda Finance Corporation wasn't immediately available on Tuesday.

The case is Michelle Adame v. American Honda Finance Corporation, case number BC648488 in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles.

--Editing by Kelly Duncan.