In response to the increase in the number of consumer complaints about telemarketers and debt collection calls, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was enacted. The intention of this act was to reduce the number of nuisance calls made to consumers and to protect their privacy.
The TCPA specifically restricts telemarketer and debt collector practices with regards to the use of automated dialing and pre-recorded voice messages when they are made to:
Telemarketers are also restricted from making calls to consumers registered on the Do-Not-Call Registry.
Violations of the TCPA
Cell Phones – Under the TCPA, telemarketers are prohibited from making automated calls, pre-recorded messages, and text messages to the cell phones of consumers. Every time a “robo” call, pre-recorded message, or text message is made by a telemarketer or debt collector to the cell phone of a consumer, they are violating the TCPA. The exception is if consent has been previously given by the consumer to the telemarketer or debt collector. However, the consumer can revoke this consent by telling the telemarketer or debt collector to stop making calls to their cell phone.
Residential Phone Lines – With regards to residential phone lines, the TCPA prohibits telemarketers from making calls using pre-recorded messages. This rule only applies to solicitations by telemarketers who already have an “established business relationship” with the consumer. A consumer is presumed to have an “established business relationship” with a telemarketer if they have done business within the previous eighteen months, or the consumer has made an inquiry within the past three months.
Calls to Consumers Who Have Registered on the "Do-Not-Call Registry" – Once a consumer has placed his or her name on the Do-Not-Call Registry, solicitation calls made to them are prohibited under the TCPA. Cell phone and residential line numbers can be placed on the Registry. Read about this violation more in one of our previous blog posts here.
Telemarketers and debt collectors using an auto dialer are also prohibited from calling before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. Telemarketers are also required to provide his or her name, the name of the business on whose behalf the telemarketer is calling, and the telephone number or address where the consumer can reach the person or entity.
Evidence of Violations
If a consumer has been receiving calls that violate the TCPA they should document the violations.
If a consumer has received telemarketing call prohibited under the TCPA, unsolicited faxes, pre-recorded or automated calls on their cell phones or residential lines, he or she may file a lawsuit for violations of the TCPA. Damages can include:
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 http://www.krohnandmoss.com/.