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Articles Posted in Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Are you receiving collection calls to a cell phone for a debt that belongs to someone else?  If the calls are being made by an autodialer, you may have a claim under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).

For there to be liability under the TCPA, collection calls to a cellphone must be made by autodialer without your “prior express consent.”  One of the easiest ways to know there was no prior express consent is when the collection calls are for a debt that was never yours to begin with and belongs to someone else.  So let’s say we’ve determined that a company is calling your cell phone attempting to collect a debt that belongs to someone else.  How do you know if the company is using an autodialer?

Creditors and debt collectors often use autodialers to collect debt because of increased economic efficiency.  Simply put, autodialers can make more calls that people can.  Autodialers can even make people more efficient at debt collection by predictive dialing.  Predictive dialing is the process of calling certain numbers and connecting a call to a real call center person only when the call is answered by an actual consumer.  A predictive dialer predicts when the real call center person will be available to take the next call and makes automatic calls in an attempt to get a real consumer on the line at just the right time.  So when  you answer a call and the real call center person does not immediately respond, this is a usually a sure sign that an autodialer is being used.  The delay between you answering and the real call center person coming on the line is the time it takes the autodialer to tell the call center person that it has made a connection with an actual consumer and then for the real call center person to get on the line.  An immediate hangup will sometimes happen when the autodialer predicted incorrectly that a real call center person would be available but they were not.  If you hear a recording in response to answer the call, that is also a sure sign that an autodialer is being used. Continue reading

Debt collectors and creditors often use what is called an autodialer to make calls to consumers. One of the ways you can tell an autodialer is being used is that when you answer the call you will experience a slight delay before a live person actually comes on the phone. There are several reasons creditors and debt collectors use autodialers, but one of them is that it allows them to pepper a consumer with calls when the consumer isn’t answering. This can be harassing, but you can make them stop.

A debt collector needs what is called “prior express consent” to legally use an autodialer to call your cell phone. Typically, this prior express consent is obtained when you list your cell phone number on the paperwork when you arrange a business or credit transaction. But your consent can easily be revoked or retracted simply by informing the business calling you that you no longer wish to receive phone calls from them. It can be done either orally or in writing. This won’t necessarily stop autodialed calls to a landline, but it SHOULD stop autodialed calls to a cell phone. If it doesn’t, each call thereafter may be a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) and could be worth at least $500 PER CALL.

For more information about the TCPA or to submit your potential TCPA claim for review, please visit my website at www.indianaconsumerlawgroup.com.