The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 and "Robo-Calls"
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
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
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
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.