A digital attorney is helping consumers take telemarketers and phone scammers to court.
What’s new: DoNotPay makes an app billed as the world’s first robot lawyer. Its latest offering, Robo Revenge, automates the process of suing intrusive robocallers.
How it works: U.S. law entitles consumers who have added their phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry to sue violators for $3,000 on average. For $3 a month, Robo Revenge makes it easy:
- The system generates a special credit card number that users can give to spam callers. When a telemarketer processes the card, it uses the transaction information to determine the company’s legal identity.
- After the call, users can open a chat session to enter information they’ve gathered.
- Then the system draws on the chat log, transaction data, and local, state, and federal laws to file a lawsuit automatically.
Behind the news: Joshua Browder founded DoNotPay in 2016 to help people fight parking tickets. Since then, he has added tools that cancel unwanted subscriptions, navigate customer service labyrinths, and sue airlines for cancelled flights. Browder in 2018 told Vice that DoNotPay wins about 50 percent of cases, earning clients $7,000 per successful lawsuit on average.
Why it matters: The average American receives 18 telemarketing calls a month — even though the Do Not Call Registry contains 240 million numbers, enough to cover around 70 percent of the U.S. population. Spam callers might not be so aggressive if their marks were likely to sue.
We’re thinking: We’re not fans of making society even more litigious. But we could be persuaded to make an exception for scofflaw telespammers.