Telephone Consumer Protection Act Suits on the Rise

Over the past several months, consumer attorneys nationwide have
noticed a steady incline of Telephone Consumer
Protection Act (“TCPA”)
being filed against collection
agencies.  According to a survey taken over the past year,
lawsuits filed under the TCPA have continued a steady increase
rising by as much as 15% from August of 2012 and almost 65% for the
entire year.  Moreover, the Federal Communications Commission
(“FCC”), Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and Better Business Bureau (“BBB”) recently
demonstrated increased interest in enforcing TCPA guidelines.

Since its inception, the TCPA was
considered to be a statute enforced through small claims courts,
however more recently, the statute has been used to assert class
action claims against collection agencies violating the law. 
The most common types of private claims brought under the statue
are texting as a means of sending promotional campaigns, placing pre-recorded
voice messaging calls
in an effort to collect debt and fax
advertising. 

In addition to private enforcement actions, the FCC and FTC have
increased their enforcement of the TCPA.  With the rise in
violations, Congress enabled the FCC to further regulate the
TCPA.  Taking action to protect consumers, the FCC now
requires that pre-recorded voice telemarketing and advertising
calls have opt-out mechanisms and that business receive prior
written consent from consumers for pre-recorded voice telemarketing
or advertising calls to cellular and land line phones (this consent
may be received by sending an initial text message or pre-recorded
call).

Additionally, both the FCC and FTC have taken matters into their
own hands regarding the increased number of complaints from
consumers about TCPA violations.  In a recent summit, the FTC
announced a hefty financial reward to the first developer of
software that could block “robo-calls
to both cell phones and land lines. 
 
While the purpose of the TCPA was to restrict marketing calls and
text messaging by prohibiting communication using automated
systems, artificial callers, or pre-recorded voice messages without
first receiving express consent, based on the increase in law
suits, it appears businesses have no intention of slowing down as
evidenced by the increase in lawsuits under the TCPA.

If you believe you have been the victim of violations of the
TCPA contact SmithMarco, P.C. for a free case review.