The TCPA regulates many different aspects of telemarketing, but possibly one of the most commonly violated provisions is the violation of the prohibition against “robo calls.” The phrase “robo calls” refers to calls made by telemarketers that are generated by an automatic dialing system or a call that has an artificial or prerecorded voice. The general prohibitions with regard to robo calls are as follows (providing the company does not have your prior written consent):
Calls and text messages made to cell phones from an autodialer. It is important to note that this provision also applies to a debt collector, and it is very common for debt collectors to use an autodialer to call a consumer’s cell phone. There is case law that indicates a debt collector might not fall under the general definition of a telephone solicitation, but debt collectors are in fact encompassed by this particular provision.
Calls made to your home phone which use an artificial or prerecorded message.
If you believe a business has violated one or more of the provisions of the TCPA pertaining to robo calls, you should call a consumer attorney immediately. There are subtle distinctions in fact patterns that are a violation of the TCPA and those that are not. For example, there is much case law that deals with what is considered “prior written consent.” Has the consumer given consent if he or she signed a pay day loan and simply listed the cell phone number as part of the application process? If prior written consent has been given by the consumer, may the consumer revoke this prior written consent? If so, must the consumer revoke the consent in writing or does an oral revocation suffice. Again, prior consent might seem like a very small piece of the puzzle, but it could be the difference between having a good TCPA case, and not having one at all.
Consumers have a private cause of action against businesses that violate certain provisions of the TCPA including violations pertaining to the improper use of robo calls. A consumer is entitled to $500 per violation as well as attorney fees if he or she prevails. In fact, this amount could be tripled to $1500 per violation if the consumer is able to prove the business willfully and knowingly violated the TCPA.