How the Telephone Consumer Protection Act Protects Consumers from Harassment by Debt Collectors
Florida Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer
A federal law known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protects consumers from abuse by debt collectors and telemarketers who misuse telephone technology to harass consumers. The federal law, enacted in 1991, gives the government a legal basis to take action against debt collectors and telemarketers who violate provisions of the act. The TCPA also provides a private cause of action for citizens or businesses to bring a lawsuit against debt collectors and others who violate the act.
The TCPA generally protects consumers by prohibiting four different practices commonly employed by telemarketers and third-party debt collectors:
- Using automatic dialing systems or artificial or prerecorded voice messages to call an emergency telephone line, hospital patient, pager or cellular phone, or any other service for which the receiver is charged for the call, without the prior express consent of the called party
- Using artificial or prerecorded voice messages to call residential phone lines without the prior written consent of the party called
- Sending unsolicited advertisements to fax machines
- Using automatic dialing systems to call two or more of a business’ telephone lines at the same time.
The TCPA places limits on unsolicited, pre-recorded telemarketing calls to landline home telephones. These calls, known as robocalls, can invade consumers’ privacy. The law states that a person who has received more than one telephone call in a 12-month period by or on behalf of the same entity may bring a lawsuit to recover $500.00 for each violation, or the actual monetary loss experienced by the party who received the calls, or whichever is greater. The TCPA is one of the tools that the Florida Debt Fighters use to protect consumers from harassment.
Stop the Harassment and Get Paid for Your Stress
If you have been harassed by debt collectors or telemarketers with unsolicited phone calls, you may be able to recover damages for your inconvenience and their violation of the TCPA. In 2012, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case of Mims v. Arrow Financial Services, LLC, holding that a private cause of action could be brought in federal court. Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Mims, debt collectors relied on the fact that affected consumers would bring their suits in state court.
This is because the state courts were primarily overwhelmed with state law cases, and were generally slow in deciding the cases. If it appeared that the state court might act more quickly than usual, the defendants’ strategy was to then motion for the removal of the case from state court over to federal court, causing more delay and cost for the plaintiffs. This shell game would continue until the plaintiffs ultimately tired, and accepted a smaller amount in a settlement than they could receive in court.
If you believe you have been harassed and may qualify to sue for damages, please contact the attorneys at Disparti Law Group for a free consultation today. You could be paid for the stress of dealing with the unwanted phone calls you have received and finally put a stop to the harassment. Contact us now.