Know Your Rights

Basics of TCPA

You may be familiar with the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") but the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") is the fastest growing consumer protection statute out there.  The TCPA has been protecting consumer rights since the early nineties but it seems that in the recent years the protection of its laws are growing in popularity.  More consumers than ever are using the safe guard of the statute to protect themselves. 

Congress enacted the TCPA to protect consumers from the harassing and endless calls of telemarketers and the statute now requires these callers to provide the name and contact information of the company they are representing.  Much like the FDCPA, solicitation calls can only be made to a consumer's home between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. and calls cannot be placed to a consumer who has registered with the national do-not-call list.  The do-not-call list is a list of consumers who have registered with the Federal Trade Commission and have opted out of receiving solicitous calls.  So, you may ask yourself, what is a telemarking call or a solicitation and how do I protect myself?  Telemarketing calls or solicitations are calls made with the intent to sell you something which you have not given your express consent or permission to sell you.

The TCPA was also enacted to protect consumers from receiving robo-calls or calls made using an automated dialing system.  A robo-call or call placed using an automated dialing system is one where the call is not placed by a live person but by a dialing system.  A computer system stores the telephone numbers and dials calls based on when the telephone number comes up for calling.  Either a live person or a prerecorded message may be on the line when the consumer or voice-mail answers.  The TCPA forbids callers to place this type of call to cell phones and pagers or any line that charges to receive calls.  Recently, the TCPA expanded its protection to text messaging and does not allow solicitous texts to be sent without the consumers express consent.

Under the TCPA, in an effort to protect consumers, these calls must provide the consumer with an option at the onset of the call to opt-out of receiving any further communication.  If a live person is on the line, the caller must end the conversation and add the consumer to the do-not-call list.  If the call is a prerecorded message, the message must include a number that the consumer may call to opt-out of receiving future calls.     

If you believe you have been the victim of a violation of the TCPA and would like to speak with an attorney for a completely free case review, contact SmithMarco P.C. 

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