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The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 and “Robo-Calls”

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2013 | Consumer Protection

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) enacted in 1991, limits the placement of pre-recorded
telemarketing calls and all autodialed or pre-recorded calls to cell phones.  These calls are most commonly referred to as “robo-calls”.  Today companies are using robo-calling more than ever either as a marketing tool to solicit new business or to collect debts.  As technology continues to expand the use of
robo-calling is becoming more appealing to companies as it is an inexpensive way to reach a large mass of people.

If you answer the phone and hear a prerecorded message in lieu of an actual person; if you receive a pre-recorded message on your answering machine or voicemail; or if you hear a long pause asking you to hold the line prior to speaking with a live person, these are considered robo-calls….all of which may be considered illegal.

The TCPA makes it illegal for collection agencies to place robo-calls to a consumer’s cell phone without prior consent.  However, consumers must be aware of the exceptions to this rule, prior to filing suit and alleging the calling company violated the law.  First, if when signing an application for credit, you provide your cell phone number, it is often assumed that you have provided written consent to contact you at that
number.  Second, if your cell phone number is the only number you have the calling company again may argue that it has permission to call you at that number.  And the third situation that may protect a collection
agency is if the credit application you signed had language expressly stating you give permission to be contacted at your cellular number. Now more than ever, creditors are including this language in applications as the use of cell phones continues to grow exponentially.

Should you receive robo-calls to your cell phone without your consent, it may likely be in violation of the TCPA and you may file suit in Federal Court entitling you to damages starting at $500 and as high as $1500 per telephone call if you are able to prove the calls were placed willfully.

When you’re being pursued by debt collectors, you have rights,  and we’re here to help.  SmithMarco, P.C. has been protecting consumer rights since 2005.  If you feel that you’re rights have been violated, please contact us for a free case review.