If you received a pre-recorded phone call offering a free cruise as part of a promotion, you could be entitled to $300 thanks to a class-action lawsuit. In the proposed settlement of Charvat v. Carnival et al, those who received a “robo-call” advertising a cruise could receive $300 per instance.
While it may sound too good to be true, the settlement could be available to those who qualify. All individuals need is to prove they received a pre-recorded call from the cruise lines — which is easier than you may think.
Why was the lawsuit filed?
According to the settlement website, the plaintiffs bringing forward the lawsuit claim Resort Marketing Group broke the Telephone Consumer Protection Act through automated phone calls to travelers. The lawsuit was filed by Phillip Charvat on behalf of cruisers who may have received the calls. He claims those who were robotically dialed by the campaign did not give their consent to Resort Marketing Group — thus violating the terms of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The lawsuit originally called for a settlement of $1,500 per call.
The calls were allegedly made on behalf of several cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines. The robotic calls offered the free cruises between July 2009 and March 2014.
The phone calls were not limited to residential phones. Calls were made to a number of valid phone numbers, including cellular phones. Through the settlement, the cruise lines are not admitting guilt in the case and a court of law has not made a decision as to who is right in the lawsuit.
Which calls qualify in the class?
Callers who received a phone call from Resort Marketing Group between July 23, 2009 and March 8, 2014 may qualify to be part of the class. As a result, those who identify as part of the group can submit a claim form requesting their share of $300 per call, up to a total of $900.
Only calls made by Resort Marketing Group on behalf of Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines qualify to be part of the settlement class. Others who may have received similar scam calls purportedly from cruise lines or other resort programs are not included in this lawsuit.
Do I qualify for a settlement?
Those who believe they may qualify for a settlement can check their status at the class action lawsuit settlement website. Individuals who have received one of these phone calls can cross-check their phone numbers against a national database to see if they qualify for part of the settlement.
What are my rights under the settlement?
Cruisers who are part of the class have three options available: file a claim for damages under the proposed settlement, file an objection over the settlement, or exclude themselves from the lawsuit.
After receiving a notice of settlement or checking if their phone number is included in the lawsuit, those who wish to receive their share can file a claim form online or via U.S. Mail. All claims must either be submitted electronically via the class action lawsuit settlement website, or postmarked no later than Friday, November 3, 2017. Claims will be paid after the court has approved the settlement proposal, with a hearing scheduled for April 4, 2018. Those who accept the settlement waive their right to pursue further legal action against the marketing company or cruise lines directly in regards to this case.
Individuals who wish to object to the proposed settlement can submit their thoughts directly to the court via a letter. In the letter, those in the class must identify themselves and their phone number involved, followed by legal basis for filing an objection. The objection must also be postmarked no later than November 3, 2017.
Finally, those who wish to remove themselves may exclude themselves from the lawsuit entirely. The notice of exclusion must be sent directly to the settlement administrator and postmarked by November 3, 2017. Those who exclude themselves from the lawsuit will waive their rights to a cash settlement, but may pursue a separate lawsuit against the named companies.
Travelers who received nuisance calls are advised to check the website lawsuit to see if they qualify for a settlement. Dealing with the robotic dialers may result in a $300 payout as soon as next year.