SiriusXM

The calls kept coming, a dozen and a half in all, even after Yasameen Sharif told SiriusXM to stop calling her cell phone despite it being placed on the government’s do not call list. Each time the voice on the other end tried to sell the Needham, MA woman its satellite radio service. But Sharif says the calls were “harassing” and interfered with her daily life and ability to work. Now she is suing SiriusXM and former CEO Jim Meyer, alleging he was ultimately responsible for the telemarking practices of the company.

The phone calls came during October and November 2019 – before Meyer stepped down as the head of SiriusXM in December 2020. Sharif fired off a certified letter to SiriusXM asking them to stop phoning her. The company responded with a letter saying it would not be able to halt the calls until its system was updated, leading her to believe the satcaster was using an automatic dialing system. Sharif followed up with a cease and desist letter, after which she alleges she received six additional calls before the last one landed on her phone on Black Friday 2019.

In court documents, Sharif said that she attempted to reach a settlement with SiriusXM, noting that the company could be on the hook for as much as $32,000 in fines under federal law. But SiriusXM refused, telling her in part that its systems showed she verbally consented to accepting the calls when answering the phone. The company also noted that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act only prohibits the use of automatic dialers on landlines, not on mobile phones. And that its third-party vendor used predictive dialer systems, noting it is “not a telemarketer” and that Sharif was a previous subscriber to the satellite radio service. While it admitted no wrongdoing, Sharif says that SiriusXM did offer her $1,500 to settler her complaint.

In her lawsuit – first filed in Massachusetts state court and now being heard in federal district court in Boston – Sharif is seeking $5,000 for each of the 18 calls she received. She is also seeking legal fees and other statutory damages totaling $30,000. In her complaint, Sharif explains she personally named Meyer saying he is “directly responsible for the oversight of all marketing, telemarketing, and sales calls by Sirius that directly impact Sharif and others on the do not call registry.”

Over the past several years, SiriusXM’s robocalls have prompted an ongoing barrage of lawsuits—to the point that in 2016, the company paid $35 million into a cash settlement fund to settle several class action suits. And in December 2019, SiriusXM agreed to pay $25 million and provide free services as part of a class action settlement for alleged TCPA violations. In that case, a Texas man accused SiriusXM of repeated unsolicited calls, despite his number being placed on the National Do Not Call Registry.