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Arvada woman takes on debt collector for unwanted robocalls

ARVADA, Colo. -- An Arvada woman is standing up to the No. 1 consumer complaint in America: Unwanted telemarketing or solicitor calls.

But one business is finding out the hard way the consequences for not abiding by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which established the do not call registry.

A lawsuit was filed in Colorado's U.S. District Court Friday on behalf of Trudy Newell. It is meant to punish a debt collector who persistently kept calling, looking for a man Newell had never heard of.

At first, the phone calls for Jeffrey Pike were annoying.

"I am not Jeffrey Pike, obviously. He does not live here. This is not his number. So don't call me anymore,” Newell said.

But when the recorded calls continued for nearly two months, she went from annoyed to action.

"Little bit mad. Just a little bit 'cause ‘no means no and stop means stop. What don't you understand?'" she said.

That's when she hired lawyer David Force from New Jersey. He filed a lawsuit in federal court against Alabama debt attorney Maury Cobb.

"They are going to find out the hard way, if they don't do what they're supposed to do, there are consequences and those consequences are very real," Force said.

He said while robocalls can help a company reach far more people in much less time, the efficiency can cut both ways.

"Once you break the chain of consent and they know they should not be calling, you're looking at a minimum of $500 per call to a max of $1,500 per call,"  Force said.

He said with auto dialers spitting out three to five calls a day over 10 to 20 days, you're looking at damages close to $50,000.

"To all you people out there, don't be afraid to contact an attorney. There's one right there. My phone just blocked it," Newell said about another telemarketer call.

Those unwanted calls keep coming from others. She hopes this lawsuit goes a long way to hang up on at least on one of them.

"People have better things to do. Someone needs to tell them, 'Hey. Enough is enough. Stop it,'" she said.

Force said if you get unwanted solicitor calls, the best thing is don’t ignore them. He said answer the calls, identify who it is and advise them to stop calling.

Then, log the date and time of that call and all those that come after. Save any recorded messages. If the calls don’t stop, call a lawyer.

Cobb did not respond to a request for a comment. Force said he has until Friday to settle the case or he'll be served.