Do you remember that “free cruise” robocall telemarketing campaign about five or six years ago? It offered a free 2-day cruise in exchange for answering a few questions on a political survey.
If so — and you have proof — you can get up to $500 for each one of those illegal calls as part of a class action lawsuit settlement with Caribbean Cruise Line.
February 1 is the deadline to sign up, and you can do so online at www.FreeCruiseCallClassAction.net.
To see if your phone number was on the call list, check this database. If not, you will need proof that you received the calls.
You may still be eligible if you have one of these phone numbers in your Caller ID, voicemail recordings, phone bill records, or other evidence. Click below to listen to an example:
Still not sure? Here is a transcript of one type of call:
Hi, this is John from Political Opinions of America. We are conducting a short 30 second survey and would like your valuable input. For participating, you will receive a 2-day cruise for two people to the Bahamas at no charge.”
Upon completing the survey, lucky participants were transferred to a live telemarketer who sold cruises, add-ons, travel packages, timeshares, room upgrades, excursions, and more.
Lawyers called the scheme a “scam” and a “marketing tool with no legitimate political basis.” Not only was the “free” cruise not actually free, Political Opinions of America was not a real company.
The class action lawsuit was filed in 2012 by four people who were harassed, including a man from Illinois who got nine calls despite repeatedly trying to remove himself from the list. In September 2016, Caribbean settled the class action for between $56-$76 million.
Caribbean previously paid a $500,000 settlement for making billions of illegal robocalls with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 10 state attorneys general.
The FTC does not prohibit political survey robocalls, but the commission said Caribbean broke the law by using the loophole to sell cruises.
Approximately 12-15 million people were called per day — including people who were on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” Registry and people who said they did not want to be called again — generating millions of dollars in sales for Caribbean.
The lawsuit is Birchmeier et al. v. Caribbean Cruise Line, Inc. et al. — Case No. 12-cv-04069.