If you hate calls from telemarketers, Bob Arkow is your hero.
Arkow, 44, who takes telemarketers to court over repeated solicitation calls, has chalked up yet another victory. He reached an out-of-court settlement last week in his lawsuit against Time Warner Cable, which has 21,500 customers in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Neither Arkow nor company officials would discuss specifics of the settlement, but they did disclose that it included compensation for Arkow and a promise by the company that it would examine its telemarketing policies.
Earlier this year, Arkow accepted a settlement in a similar suit against the Prodigy Services computer network.
Arkow said his lawsuits are wake-up calls to the companies who use telemarketing. "I think eventually what happens if you kick this thing up in the corporation, someone says, 'Hey, this isn't the right thing to be doing to our customers,' " Arkow said.
The Time Warner Cable lawsuit was resolved just days before a judge was scheduled to hear the case.
Arkow, who works as a telecommunications specialist for the state, had first threatened to sue the company last year for allegedly violating federal telemarketing regulations by continuing to call him after he formally requested that they stop.
The company gave him $500 worth of free services in compensation and he dropped plans to sue.
But when he got yet another call in July, he made good on his threat, filing a lawsuit that sought $2,000 plus legal fees.
Scott Binder, president of the cable company, said the company wanted to take care of the matter as quickly as possible. "The last thing we wanted to do was be in lawsuits with our customers," Binder said.
He admitted that Arkow's complaints had at least partial merit. "Some of his complaints were things we could improve on," he said.
Arkow encourages others bothered by telemarketing calls to take action. He suggested that they first ask a caller if they have a do-not-call policy, as required. If they do, you can request to be put on the do-not-call list. If they don't, you should inform them of the law.
Just threatening legal action, Arkow said, is sometimes enough to ensure that they don't call again.
Arkow, for one, plans to continue to do more than threaten. He said he will soon take legal action against a financial institution.