Debt Relief Industry

Debt Relief Companies Urged to Shut Down Autodialers

Written by Steve Rhode

Last week the Federal Communications Commission rolled out new rules that will significantly impact any debt relief companies with an autodialer. The penalties are significant if you get caught violating these rules. I would expect to see new lawsuits against debt relief companies for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Collections & Credit Risk did a great job covering the highlights, here and here.

Here is the issue in a bathroom break nutshell.

“TCPA violations are subject to strict liability – $500 for each unsolicited call, or $1,500 if the company intentionally makes a call after the cellphone user denies permission. Callers are liable even if they have the permission of the person they are trying to reach but the phone number has been reassigned to another individual.”

This issue impacts both banks and debt collectors as well.

“The rules passed by the FCC carve out an exemption for the first wrong-number phone call but not for any subsequent calls to that number. An FCC staffer said that the new rules will provide an incentive for companies to take proactive steps, such as confirming the phone number by email, to ensure they are robo-calling the right person.”

“The FCC was quite clear that consent must come from the consumer, meaning they provided a telephone number or cell phone number on some document, web page or verbally.”

“If you haven’t unplugged your automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) or predictive dialer, please do so now. The FCC gave the broadest definition possible to an ATDS by defining capacity to include not only the current capacity of an ATDS system but also any future or potential capacity.”

Before you start autodialing again, confer with your legal team and obtain satisfactory new consent from your customers.

You can read the entire FCC ruling, here.


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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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