Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”)
In the early 90’s debt collection agencies were embracing technology and utilizing all sorts of devices to increase the rate at which they contacted borrowers whom they believed owed them debts. In 1991, Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) of 1991. The law prohibited certain conduct from telephonic solicitations, as well as the use of automatic dialing machines, also known as “auto dialers” or “robocalls.” The TCPA sets forth relatively strict guidelines for the use of these devices.
Some of the strict rules imposed by the TCPA include:
1. A prohibition on calling before 8 A.M. and after 9 P.M.
2. A Requirement that companies to maintain, and update, a company specific “do not call” (“DNC”) list of individuals who specifically requested not to be called; the DNC request is valid for five (5) years.
3. A Requirement that companies to avoid calling individuals on the National Do Not Call Registry
4. A Prohibition against companies the use of artificial voices, and recordings, to individuals, emergency lines, or devices where the recipient is charged for the call.
5. A prohibition against autodialing two, or more, phone lines of a business.
This is not an exhaustive list, but the general gist is that if a company is using automated devices to communicate with many people, there are strict rules they must follow.
The rate of TCPA violations has decreased over the last several years because of the harsher implementation of the statutory scheme. The TCPA has accomplished its goal for the most part.