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Know Your Rights: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)September 29, 2020 / by Michael McEldowney, J.D / 3 min read
What is Considered Consent Under the TCPA?While permission in the telemarketing context must be explicit, courts have been more lenient with debt collectors. Generally, a court will find that the consumer gave permission if he or she provided the mobile number to the creditor as a way to make contact regarding the account. So, “consent” can be as simple as having included the cell phone number on a credit card application or having provided it as a callback number when contacting the company. However, consent can generally be revoked. The FCC has ruled that any clear and reasonable means of revocation is sufficient. Of course, written revocation is easier to document, since the consumer can keep a copy of the revocation and the certified mail receipt or other proof of mailing.
TCPA ViolationsMany consumers today don’t have wired phone lines at home, and rely entirely on their mobile phones. So, a cell phone number is often the only one a debt collector has. Since robo-calling is widespread in the credit and debt collection industries, that means a lot of consumers get automated collection calls to their cell phones. While consumers are often annoyed or stressed by these calls, most don’t know they may be TCPA violations. If more consumers knew their rights under the TCPA and took action, creditors and debt collectors might be forced to follow the law. But, since most consumers never push back, robocalling remains common--with or without consent. Generally, robocalls to a cell phone may violate the TCPA if:
- The consumer never consented to receiving calls about the account
- The calls are coming to a different number than the one the consumer provided, or
- Consent has been revoked