Struggling with overwhelming debt problems is stressful – and a big source of that stress is the unending debt collection telephone calls. And now that we all have a cell phone with us pretty much 24 hours a day debt collection calls seep into nearly every moment of our lives. In fact, I have had clients come visit with me about filing for bankruptcy just to get the phone calls to stop.
Many are unaware that there is a federal law that prohibits debt collectors from calling or texting you on your cell phone unless you have given them permission to do so. The law is called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). And it expressly outlaws almost all autodialed collection calls to cell phones. Not only does it prohibit calls but it offers minimum statutory damages of $500 per call.
Be Careful What You Ask For…FCC Upholds TCPA Debt Collection Call Restrictions
As you might imagine debt collectors are not very fond of this law. It puts a huge hurdle between them and you. Many people have ditched their landline and only have cell phone, and if debt collectors can’t contact you on it then it makes it very difficult to put the pressure on people to hand over money.
The debt collection industry has been asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to loosen the restrictions of the TCPA, however just recently the FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling and Order that clearly states that autodialed calls to a cell phone violate the TCPA unless the consumer has given express permission to call them on that number.
The Call Must be Autodialed to Be a Violation
In order for a debt collector’s call to your cell phone to be a violation it must have been autodialed. The FCC defined “autodialed” as predictive dialing systems that make calls from lists of specific phone numbers, using algorithms that predict when a consumer will answer the phone and when a telemarketer or debt collector will be available to take the call if it is answered.
These days the typical debt collection telephone call is a machine that calls your number and then if you pick up it is transferred over to a live person. If you haven’t given them express permission to call you on your cell phone then this is a violation of the TCPA.
You Don’t Have to Take the Nonstop Collection Calls
The point of the TCPA is that the old debt collection tactic of driving you crazy by calling you day and night is no longer a valid way to collect a debt if they are making the calls to your cell phone. You can stop these calls. If you have a debt collector calling your cell phone get a copy of your phone records and then reach out to a consumer lawyer. With its recently ruling the FCC has made a TCPA claim strong as ever.
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John Skiba, Esq.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your debt problem and help you put together a game plan to eliminate your debt once and for all. Give us a call at (480) 420-4028