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The Telephone Consumer Protection Act: What Does it Apply To?

Adam J Krohn / Posted: 2014-07-22 2:17 pm

In 1991 Congress enacted the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to help prevent telemarketers from placing annoying telemarketing calls to consumers. Once this act passed, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was granted the authority to create and implement the regulations that pertain to the TCPA. Under the rules adopted by the FCC, anyone making telephone solicitation calls to a person’s home must provide:

  • The caller’s name,
  • The name of the entity or person on whose behalf the call is made, and
  • The address and telephone number where the person or entity can be reached

Calls for solicitation purposes made to a person’s home are also prohibited before 8 am and after 9 pm, and telemarketers must comply with the do-not-call requests made to the caller during the call. In 2003, the FCC alongside the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) implemented the National Do-Not-Call Registry. All telemarketers covered by the FCC rules have up to 31 days from the date a consumer registers their telephone number on the list to remove the number from their call list and cease making contact.

Defining Telephone Solicitation

Telephone solicitations are calls which act as advertisements. Calls are not considered telephone solicitations if they are made with the consumer’s prior express permission or are made on the behalf of a tax-exempt non-profit organization.

A telemarketing call is defined as a call made by advertisers offering or marketing products or services to consumers. If the call is informational or made for non-commercial purposes then they are exempt from FCC regulations.

Background on Artificial or Prerecorded Voice Systems

Under the TCPA, calls made using an automated dialing system or through the use of an artificial or prerecorded voice system cannot be made to pagers, cell phones, or services where the recipient is charged for the call. In addition, these calls cannot be made to emergency telephone lines, hospital patient’s rooms, convalescent hospital patients, and the elderly living in facilities.

Autodialed calls are phone calls that involve a live person or a pre-recorded message. The call is placed through the use of an "autodialer," or automatic telephone dialing system, that can produce, store and call telephone numbers through the use of a random or sequential number generator. Robocalls are considered to be telephone calls that use an "autodialer" system to deliver only pre-recorded telemarketing messages.

In addition to telephone calls, the TCPA also applies to short message service (SMS) text messages transmitted for marketing purposes. With limited exceptions, such as messages sent for emergency purposes, the TCPA has been interpreted to prohibit the sending of unsolicited commercial text messages to cell phones.

The Standards for Artificial or Prerecorded Voice Systems

The FCC has developed standards for artificial or prerecorded voice systems. The message used must identify the person or business that is making the call and if the consumer hangs up on a robocall, the robocall must hang up as well to ensure that the consumer’s phone line does not remain tied up.

It is also required that Robocalls have an interactive opt-out procedure at the beginning of their message. Should a consumer choose to opt-out, then the number must be added to the caller’s do-not-call list and the call needs to be disconnected immediately. If a robocall leaves a message on a consumer’s voice mail, it must include a toll-free number that the consumer can use to call and opt-out. This allows consumers to remove their number from the list even if they had given their permission for calls to be made.

Our experienced attorneys here at Krohn and Moss Consumer Law Center have also provided many helpful resources regarding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and how debt collectors should act. For more information, click here to learn more about this act and how it can help you.

Our experienced attorneys here at Krohn and Moss Consumer Law Center have also provided many helpful resources regarding the TCPA and the FDCPA and how telephone debt collectors should act. We have been successfully representing those abused and taken advantage of by debt collectors for years, and have a long list of successful stories to share with you. We offer a FREE CASE REVIEW for you to assess whether we can assist you with your matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us toll free at 1-800-875-3666 or visit our website at

Tags : Debt Collection, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fdcpa, Federal Trade Commission, Ftc, Tcpa, Telephone Consumer Protection Act

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