In the years following the Great Recession, many people are finding themselves behind on their bills. With the near ubiquity of cell phones, it is getting easier and easier for bill collectors to contact their customers in an attempt to collect those debts. Many of these creditors, or third party debt collectors, go well beyond what is reasonable in attempting to collect the debts. Some go so far as to call multiple times every day of the week.
There is something you can do about it. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a federal statute that provides a remedy for consumers who are being harassed by telephone by their creditors. If you have told the caller to stop contacting you over the phone, and the calls continue, it is highly likely that you have a remedy under this statute.
The TCPA prohibits creditors from contacting consumers without their consent if the creditor is using an “automatic telephone dialing system.” An automatic telephone dialing system is usually used to connect the caller to the consumer. Despite the existence of this statute, some creditors will continue to call after they have been told to stop – often every day.
The TCPA imposes a statutory minimum penalty of $500 per phone call if the creditor continues to call. In order to invoke this provision, however, the debtor must request that the debt collector cease its phone calls, as most consumer contracts authorize contact by telephone. Lawyers in our firm’s Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section are currently investigating claims of harassment of consumers by creditors in violation of the TCPA. If you need additional information, contact Jeff Price, a lawyer in the Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Jeff.Price@beasleyallen.com.
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