Illegal Collection Calls To Cell Phones
Are You Receiving Annoying And Illegal Automated Calls To Your Cell Phone? You May Be Entitled To Money Damages….
Creditors and collectors have a nasty habit of making illegal calls to your cell phones. Well, they also do it to home and work phones and your neighbors, etc. but specifically here we will talk about cell phone calls.
First, let’s address the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) which is a federal law that prohibits certain types of calls to your cell phone unless you gave the creditor or the collector permission to call your cell phone.
This applies to both collectors and original creditors and it prevents these companies from calling you with an “auto dialer” which is a computer type dialing system. While defense lawyers try and make this complicated, it basically means a non manual dialed call. So, did fingers do the dialing or did a machine do it?
It also prevents pre-recorded messages. If a human being records a message “Please call Portfolio Recovery Associates back on this urgent business matter at 555-555-5555″ and that is what you find when you answer the call or when you get your voicemail, then you are dealing with a pre-recorded human message.
It also prevents machine or computer generated messages. You know the awkward sounding computer voice that slaughters the pronunciation of not only your name but most other words? Yeah. That’s computer or machine generated for you.
If you have received these to your cell phone and you did not give permission, then the statutory damages (not even considering actual damages you might be entitled to) are $500 per call or $1500 per call depending on whether the calls were willful or not. Hard to imagine the calls were accidently made. Its not like the old days where you were dialing on a rotary phone and your finger slips while trying to make the big circle from zero. (If you are under 35, you may not know what I’m talking about. It was a pain, trust me….)
Anyway, you can see that the damages can get the creditors and collectors all lathered up in rage.
“But what if we call someone 100 times in 30 days. Are you saying we could get hit for $150,000?!”
“Yes… that’s the law.”
“But that’s outrageous. Who knew it could come to this?”
“Well, actually you’ve known this is the law for many many years.”
“Yeah but we didn’t think anyone would actually enforce it! This is so unfair!”
“Why is it unfair?”
“Because we like being able to break the law and not have to worry about any serious consequences. This is going to foul up our calculations on the money we make breaking the law.”
“Life’s tough, eh?”
I’m sorry. I suppose I should have more sympathy for people who willfully break the law. That will nail someone with a $40 over the limit fee for going $1 over their credit limit. For someone who will charge 29% interest and think they are nice.
They know the law and they enforce it against Alabama consumers so turn about is fair play. These collectors and creditors get to have the laws enforced against them. Good for them.
Second, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from making certain types of calls to your cell phones.
The TCPA applies to collectors, as discussed above.
But what also applies to collectors, and not creditors (normally), is the FDCPA, when we are dealing with consumer (non business) debt.
This prohibits several types of conduct that we can relate specifically to cell phones.
- No lying to consumers.
- No unfair conduct towards consumers.
- No dis-respectful or undignified conduct towards consumers.
Boy, the way you blowin’ up my phone
won’t make me leave no faster.
Put my coat on faster,
leave my girls no faster.
I shoulda left my phone at home,
’cause this is a disaster!
Callin’ like a collector -
sorry, I cannot answer!Not that I don’t like you,
I’m just at a party.
And I am sick and tired
of my phone r-ringing.
Sometimes I feel like
I live in Grand Central Station.
Tonight I’m not takin’ no calls,
’cause I’ll be dancin’.
- Cell phone