California District Court Holds Revocation of Consent Sent to Corporate Headquarters Does Not Support TCPA Claim

Vanessa Wright v. USAA Savings Bank, No. 2:19-cv-00591 WBS CKD, 2020 WL 2615441 (E.D. Cal. May 22, 2020)

Plaintiff, who had a credit card account with Defendant for approximately 18 years, retained counsel to address financial issues facing his household. Counsel prepared a letter of representation and revocation of consent to call Plaintiff, which he sent to Defendant’s headquarters via certified mail. The confirmation notice associated with the letter verified that it was “delivered to the front desk, reception area, or mail room . . . In LAS VEGAS, NV 89169.” Defendant denied receiving the letter at its headquarters, located in a large corporate office building where Defendant was not the only tenant and which had a front desk Defendant did not own or control.

Considering the Parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment, the Court initially noted that “[u]nder the TCPA, ‘consumers may revoke consent through any reasonable means,’ ‘using any reasonable method including orally or in writing.’” The Court also noted that “[w]hen assessing whether a particular means of revocation used by a consumer was reasonable, courts look to the ‘totality of the facts and circumstances surrounding that specific situation, including, for example, whether the consumer had a reasonable expectation that he or she could effectively communicate his or her request for revocation to the caller in that circumstance, and whether the caller could have implemented mechanisms to effectuate a requested revocation without incurring undue burden.’”

After stating these general principles, the Court concluded that “[u]nder the facts presented here, no reasonable trier of fact could find that Plaintiff used reasonable means to revoke consent,” citing the following:

  • Defendant never made the Las Vegas address known to customers, nor did it communicate to its customers that the Las Vegas address was an appropriate destination for customers’ account-related inquiries
  • Plaintiff received more than 200 account statements and monthly payment reminders from an address in San Antonio, Texas which each: (1) listed the San Antonio address as the correct address for account-related correspondence; and (2) listed Defendant’s webpage as a resource, which also listed the San Antonio address as the appropriate mailing address

Based on these facts, the Court held that “[g]iven defendants consistent communication with plaintiff over the course of 18 years, no reasonable juror could find that plaintiff had a reasonable expectation that he could effectively communicate his request to revoke his consent to the Las Vegas address.”

Also noteworthy was the “clear appearance” that sending the letter to Las Vegas was not based on an expectation Defendant would process the letter, but rather an attempt to create a record for litigation. In reaching this conclusion, the Court cited the fact that Plaintiff’s counsel, not Plaintiff, chose where to send the letter. The Court also noted that Plaintiff’s counsel had filed more than 90 TCPA cases in the Court’s district and should have known how to effectively contact a lender, adding that Plaintiff’s counsel had previously sued Defendant and by the time he sent the letter in this case was on notice that sending revocation to the Las Vegas address may present some issues. Importantly, however, the Court’s conclusion was simply an additional basis for granting summary judgment in Defendant’s favor, as signified by its use of the word “moreover” when discussing these facts.

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