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Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

Unwanted phone calls from creditors and solicitors is one of the most aggravating things a consumer can face, whether delinquent on bills or not. Several pieces of legislation have been enacted to try to curb this behavior – including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Do Not Call Registry. At my firm, we handle lawsuits on behalf of consumers that are receiving these unwanted calls from banks, debt collectors, and other companies that are calling on your cellular phone. Under the TCPA individuals must provide express consent to receive certain phone calls and it gives the consumer the express right to tell whomever is calling, including a debt collector, to stop calling. For each of these calls, damages may be between $500 – $1,500.

If you have received, or are currently receiving, phone calls to your cell phone after telling the caller to stop, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. This can include instances where you have been reached out to in an attempt to locate another person, as well as if you asked the company to stop calling your cell phone.

TCPA and Robocalls

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act bars any business from “robocalling” consumers. A robocall can include an automated phone call that is made by an auto dialer, as well as those that are made by an automated voice delivering a basic message. This can include calls where there is a live person on the other end, depending on how the call is placed.

TCPA and Autodialers

An autodialer is a piece of software, or in the past a machine, that places outgoing calls without a person having to physically dial the phone number. Even if a person is on the other end of the phone call, it could have been initiated using an autodialer. Generally a pre-recorded message is an auto dialer, such as a appointment reminder. An autodialer typically has a period of dead air or a hang up as soon as you pick up the phone call.

Just receiving Calls may not necessarily be a violation of the law

It depends on how the call was made. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is enforced by the Federal Communications Commision, and they set very specific requirements for companies making robocalls to prevent consumer abuse. A call is in violation if it fails to meet these guidelines:

Express Written Consent

Prior to placing these calls, the company using the auto-dialer must have the consumer’s signature giving the company express written consent. This means that consent can be in the form of checking a box, opting in a online form, or even giving the cell phone number to the company. Despite the “easiness” of getting consent, the company must inform the consumer that they are giving consent to receiving robocalls when giving their phone numbers. Additionally, companies are barred from making consent mandatory or a pre-requirement to purchasing goods. They also cannot purchase third party lists where a consent exists.

Option to “Opt Out”

Regardless of whether consent has been given, under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the consumer must be given an option to opt out of receiving the calls. When answering the call, it must be given at the beginning of the message, and there must be a toll free phone number left in any message received so that they can be added to the companies do not call list.

Proper Identification

In any call to a consumers cell phone, the caller has to state his or her identity and identify the business who they are calling on behalf of. Later, they must give the address of the business placing the call and the phone number of that business.

Who Can Be Sued

A consumer can file suit, generally, against the following types of companies that call their cell phone:

  • Debt collectors
  • Student loan companies
  • Credit card companies
  • Check cashing companies
  • Banks
  • Mortgage companies
  • Finance companies
  • Retailers

Personally, I am frequently hearing from consumers that have revoked the consent to call with these companies:

  • ADT Security
  • Ally Financial
  • Asset Acceptance
  • Bank of America
  • Capital One
  • Cenlar
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • Comenity
  • Discover
  • Dish Network \ DirectTV
  • Dyck O’Neal Inc.
  • GC Services
  • GE Money/GENPAC
  • GE Retail Capital Bank
  • Gila, LLC
  • Green Tree
  • Heritage Diabetic Supply
  • HSBC
  • Midland Credit Management
  • Midland Funding
  • Nationstar
  • National Credit Adjustments
  • Navient
  • NCO
  • Ocwen Financial
  • One Source Medical Supply, LLC
  • P&B Capital
  • Palisades Collection
  • Pendrick Capital Partners
  • Pinnacle Security LLC
  • Portfolio Recovery Associates
  • Resurgent Capital
  • Sallie Mae
  • Santander
  • US Fast Cash
  • U.S. Healthcare Supply LLC
  • Verizon Wireless
  • Wells Fargo

If you are receiving calls on your cell phone from any of these companies, call my office at 813.252.0239 to schedule a consultation.