Sales solicitations and collection calls can be very annoying, especially when a roto-dialer initiates contact and asks you to hold for “a very important matter.” While many consumers have experienced these calls at home, few actually understand that they should not be used on mobile phones. In fact, federal law prohibits this practice.
Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), debt collectors may not call cellular phones using an automated dialer, or with pre-recorded messages without the user’s consent. Like violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), TCPA offenses are also taken seriously. The law allows for a $500 fine for each violation, and consumers can bring suit to seek $1500 in damages for each time a company uses an automated dialer to contact them.
A number of notable class action settlements have been approved in 2012 involving roto-dialers and unsolicited text messages (otherwise known as text spam). They include:
Adams, et al. v. AllianceOne Receivables Managements, Inc– Receivables collection company allegedly used automated dialers to contact cell phones from 2004-2010. $9 million settlement reached with class members.
Arthur, et al. v. Sallie Mae, Inc – Student loan holder used unsolicited text messages to contact borrowers. Agreed to pay $24.15 million to borrowers as part of the settlement.
Connor v. JPMorgan Chase – Lender violated the TCPA by using auto-dialer to contact holders of home equity lines of credit without their consent. $9 million settlement fund was established.
If you have questions about past TCPA violations or believe you may be included in a class, an experienced attorney can help.