About a week ago I published an article about the dangers faced by debt relief companies, and others, for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
Well just today comes a class action case filed against Freedom Financial Network, Freedom Debt Relief, and Consolidated Credit Counseling. The case was filed in New York state.
The bigger question here is if recent rulings by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) will lead to an increase in TCPA cases filed against sophisticated debt relief companies.
The complaint says on May 22,2015 a consumer went to the website for Freedom Debt Relief and was looking for debt help. Starting that same day the Plaintiff started getting calls a number of times a day on his cell phone from a telephone number claimed to belong to Consolidated.
In a six day period the Plaintiff states they got 28 calls from 646-863-6663 which is alleged to be linked to Consolidated. From the complaint it appears the consumer did not answer any of these calls.
The consumer latter noticed the form they completed on the Freedom Debt Relief website contained, “tiny barely visible print at the bottom of the screen which obligated any consumer filling out the form to grant permissions to Defendant Freedom to contact them by auto-dialer and also communicate their information to ten other companies.”
On May 27, 2015 the consumer contacted Consolidated and requested “an immediate cease and desist of the auto-dialed calls.” The consumer sought out and obtained legal representation over the call issue. Somehow the consumer received two more calls following notification to Freedom and Consolidated that the consumer was unhappy and had a lawyer on the case.
Any debt relief company that uses any form of auto-dialer should read this case to better understand the massive risk and exposure of doing so.
But these TCPA issues are not restricted to debt relief companies. A class action case was filed last week in Illinois against collection company First Tower Loan for alleged TCPA violations as well. In that case, “Williams seeks $500 for herself and every member of the class action for each TCPA violation. She’s also seeking $1,500 for herself and every member for each time the company “knowingly and willingly” committed a violation. Williams also seeks attorney fees in the event of a class recovery and costs.” – Source
As this article said, “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.”