Federal law permits debt collectors to use an auto dialer when calling consumers. This auto dialer “robocalls” people, and when the line is answered, a prerecorded message informs the consumer about their debt. The reason debt collectors use this device is because it is capable of dialing several numbers quickly, leaving more time for collectors to speak to actual people instead of listening to the line ring or leaving numerous voicemails per day.
A third party collector can abuse their right to robocall you, and if they do, you should be prepared to fight back. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) provides explicit instructions on how debt collectors may contact consumers. More importantly, it protects consumers from being harassed by telemarketers and being subjected to excessive robocalling.
A robocaller may not contact you:
- On your cell phone (this applies to sending text messages to your cell phone as well,) provided you did not give explicit consent to call you;
- On your landline, provided you have not done any business with them within the last 18 months, and provided you have not given them explicit consent;
- Before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.; or
- If you’re on the National “Do Not Call” registry.
What If I Gave Consent?
If you consented to allow a robocaller to contact you, don’t worry: You can revoke your consent. To do so, you must send a written letter revoking your consent to be robocalled, and debt collectors will have to stop using a robocaller. In fact, you can revoke your consent to be contacted at all, and bill collectors will no longer be able to contact you. Another provision of the TCPA requires the debt collector to provide you with a business address so that you will be able to send your revocation letter to the address provided.
What If the Robocalls Continue after I’ve Revoked Consent?
Continuing to robocall a customer who has revoked their consent to receive robocalls, or robocalling a person excessively each day is considered harassment, and this is a direct violation of the TCPA. In this instance, you have legal recourse to go after the bill collector for harassing you. The best way to ensure your case is successful is to keep documenting evidence of the calls by:
- Saving your phone bills;
- Taking copious notes about the calls and the company;
- Saving any voicemails you receive; and
- Keeping copies of any written correspondence you send or receive.
It can definitely be worth the time and effort you put into saving evidence – the TCPA provides awards for consumers that range from $500 up to $1500 per harassing call that may have been received.
Contact an Ohio Debt Lawyer
No matter how much debt you may owe, a bill collector does not have permission to bully or harass you into paying them. The TCPA protects you against tactics like excessive robocalls, but if debt collectors fail to obey the TCPA, know that you have the right to seek compensation. You should talk to a skilled Ohio debt attorney about your options.
The attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates take consumer telephone protection very seriously, and we are willing to fight against debt collectors to get you justice. Call us today at (888) 726-3181 for a free consultation about your case, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.