View of the TCPA
The Communications Act of 1934 was amended by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which was approved by Congress in 1991. The amendment, according to the Federal Communications Commission, was a federal effort to control telemarketer solicitation calls to consumers made live or through an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS). Later, unwanted faxes and texts became a concern.
Beginning TCPA Initiatives
The TCPA established a number of new regulations to manage the privacy invasion trifecta of ATDS calls, spam faxes, and text messaging. One of the initial regulations imposed by the Act requires a company engaging in telemarketing to put up a procedure for keeping their own internal, customized do-not-call list.
The National Do Not Call Registry was enacted into law in 2003. This allowed customers an opportunity to indicate that they do not want to be contacted by businesses in an effort to sell them anything or to collect debt by registering their landlines and mobile phone numbers.
Definition and Guidelines for Using ATDS
An ATDS has the capacity to automatically dial phone numbers that have been entered into its system. Some of these programs can generate automated calls utilizing a random or sequential phone number generator. When someone answers the phone, these are frequently paired with a pre-recorded voice.
Prerecorded voice messages and automatic telephone dialing systems, including those that convey text messages, are governed by the TCPA’s regulations. If the call is made from a “business or household landline telephone, a mobile phone, or some other category of secured telephone lines such as toll-free lines, emergency lines, or those serving hospitals, nursing homes, or paging systems,” the restrictions will vary.
What the TCPA forbids
calls to any emergency phone numbers related to fire protection, law enforcement, poison control, hospitals or other healthcare facilities, doctors’ offices, or physician service centers. This also applies to the universal emergency number 9-1-1.
Calls to any hospital, healthcare facility, nursing home, or other similar facility’s telephone line in any guest or patient room
Any phone calls made to a number associated with a specialist radio, cellular, or paging service where the caller is expected to pay for the call as part of their contract
Prerecorded voice messages and autodialed calls, whether live or prerecorded, are likewise prohibited by law, with the following three exceptions:
calls placed for urgent matters
calls placed with the called party’s express permission before being placed
calls made to collect debts that are owed to or are supported by the US.
The TCPA created considerably more straightforward guidelines for spam faxes:
No faxes could be sent to a recipient without a prior business connection being present.
The fax number was made available to the public or to people with whom the company has an established commercial relationship on purpose.
Newly Enacted Regulations
The TCPA’s scope was widened by the addition of regulations in 2012. One of them was that when it came to robocalls, businesses could no longer use the “existing commercial connection” defense. The customer being contacted must always provide written consent before being approached.
Second, telemarketing organizations must include an opt-out menu in their call so that the person being phoned can cease further attempts to contact them.
Legal Repercussions of TCPA Violation
One can file a lawsuit against anyone who make unsolicited ATDS calls to advertise goods or services, try to collect debts, or send unsolicited text messages and faxes.
For each call made to a plaintiff whose name is on the National Do Not Call Registry and for each call made in violation of the TCPA, violations can result in an award of $500 in statutory damages. If the person who was phoned can demonstrate that the caller had a deliberate purpose to break the law, the penalty could be quadrupled. Damage awards in TCPA class action cases can and frequently do result in sizable settlements.
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