A Quick Consumer Guide to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) By Tod Aronovitz | 06/02/15 | 0 Comment

In response to the increasing number of telephone marketing calls and certain telemarketing practices believed to impinge on consumer privacy and risk public safety, Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in 1991. This statute restricts the use of automatic telephone dialing systems, artificial and pre-recorded messages, and telephone facsimile (fax) machines to send unsolicited advertisements.

In conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), several revisions and updates to the TCPA have been adopted—most notably the implementation of a national ‘do-not-call’ registry in 2003 and the addition of three provisions made in 2012 to require telemarketers to:

1. Obtain prior express written consent from consumers before robocalling them
2. No longer allow telemarketers to use an “established business relationship” to avoid getting consent from consumers when dialing their home phones
3. Require telemarketers to provide an automated, interactive “opt-out” mechanism during each robocall so consumers can immediately tell the telemarketer to stop calling

By way of background, the FCC describes robocalls as unsolicited pre-recorded telemarketing calls to landline home telephones. Robocalls also include all auto-dialed or pre-recorded calls or text messages to wireless telephone numbers, emergency numbers, and patient rooms at health care facilities. The FCC rules allow some robocalls under the TCPA if prior consent is given is given by the consumer being called. FCC rules differ between landline and wireless phones.

Although there are exemptions to the law such as debt collection, survey calls and bank account fraud alerts (as long as they do not contain telemarketing messages), “what many consumers don’t realize is that this law protects them from improper debt collection calls going to their mobile phones without having prior written consent to do so,” explained consumer class action attorney Tod Aronovitz.

The Miami class action lawyer says that the issue of unsolicited calls to mobile phones has come to the forefront as a growing number of consumers are using mobile phones as their primary phone. According to Pew Research data, 90 percent of American adults now have a cell phone.

As a result, the FCC recently put together a “Fact Sheet” of proposed provisions to protect and empower consumers even further. These proposals address the issue of unwanted robocalls and texts to wireless phones. FCC commissioners will vote on the proposal at their June 18, 2015 meeting.

Our ARONOVITZ Law blog will be discussing related TCPA topics as well as these proposals in upcoming blog posts.

If you have a complaint to register with the FCC, you may file it:

Online or visit https://www.fcc.gov/
• By phone: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)
• By mail (include your name, address, contact information and as much detail about your complaint as possible) to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

You can also register a home phone or wireless number on the national Do-Not-Call list at no cost. Telemarketers have up to 31 days from the date that you register to remove it from their call lists and stop calling you.

• Register online at www.donotcall.gov
• By phone at 1-888-382-1222 or 1-866-290-4236 (TTY). If registering by phone, you must call from the phone number you want to register.

ARONOVITZ LAW: Miami Class Action Lawyers

The Miami class action law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW pursues justice for citizens across Florida who have been injured by the wrongful actions or omissions of another individual, government agency, or corporation. In addition to Florida consumer class action litigation, we can assist you with civil litigation including whistleblower cases, medical malpractice, product liability, and wrongful death cases.

Contact Miami consumer class action attorney Tod Aronovitz at 305-372-2772 for a confidential discussion of your case.