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The Telephonic Consumer Protection Act

Consumer statutes are enacted to create a balance for buyers in the marketplace and prevent sellers from using unfair tactics.  The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”)  is a consumer minded statute enacted in 1991 that prohibits telemarketers, banks, debt collectors and any other companies from using autodialers or robocalls to contact you at home or on your cell phone without your consent.

Limit Automatic Dialing Systems

The purpose of the TCPA is to limit the use of automatic dialing systems, artificial or pre-recorded voice messages and SMS text messages.  Prior to its enactment, solicitation and marketing companies were allowed to place repeated, continuous and harassing phone calls to vulnerable consumers.  As a growing number of consumers complained about these companies, Congress responded by passing the TCPA into law.

Bans Included in the Law

Specifically, the law applies to automatic telephone dialing system calls, more commonly referred to as “ADTS” calls.    Congress banned these calls to all emergency numbers such as 911, to hospitals and health care facilities and to cell phones or any service that charges a called party. Furthermore, the TCPA bans calls using an artificial or pre-recorded voices and allows consumers to file suit against companies who violate the law and recover damages per violation up to $1,500 plusreasonable attorneys’ fees.

Do Not Call Registry

The government has afforded consumer additional rights by allowing them to join the Do Not Call Registry.  If you join the list, a telemarketer must obtain your express consent prior to placing a robocall.  Prior to the Do Not Call List, a company was allowed to place telemarketing calls if you had an established business relationship.

When You Are Not Protected By the Law

There are situations where the TCPA will not protect you. Currently, the law does not protect you against robocalls from live agents.  Furthermore, the law only requires express consent not written consent for debt collection calls.  Calls placed by political organizations, non profits and healthcare organizations are exempt from the requirements under the TCPA and debt collectors calling to collect on federal debts such as taxes or student loans may place up to 3 robocalls a month.

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If you believe your rights have been violated under the TCPA and you would like the advice or assistance of counsel, contact SmithMarco, P.C. for a completely free case review. 

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