Passed in 1991 and amended in 2010 by Congress, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") is an act establishing laws to limit what telemarketers and other businesses, including debt collectors, can do over the telephone and similar methods to collect a debt. Notably, the TCPA prohibits debt collectors from using “robocalls” to collect a debt. A robocall is an automated dialing system with an artificial or prerecorded message. If you have received any telephone call where a person was not on the other end, that is a robocall.
In addition to prohibiting robocalls, the TCPA also restricts calls to cell phones, pagers, or to any service where the recipient is charged for the telephone call. This includes text messages and faxes. The TCPA also prohibits calls to some landlines, such as emergency numbers to or to help care facilities.
If debt collectors attempt to collect a debt from you using any of the above-mentioned prohibited methods, they are violating the TCPA and your rights. The TCPA affords monetary compensation to the victim of these violations, including $500 for each illegal solicitation made. If the victim can establish that the caller was willfully or knowingly violating the TCPA, you may be entitled to triple damages of up to $1,500 per illegal solicitation.