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TCPA

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) is the primary law in the U.S. governing the conduct of telemarketers. Its primary regulator is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The TCPA restricts the use of dialers, prerecorded voice messages, SMS text messages received by cell phones, and the use of fax machines. As such, debt collectors often find themselves restricted in the communication technology they can use, especially when the technology is not explicitly mentioned in the law. For example, until the FCC issued a declaratory ruling in 2008, the ARM industry was tacitly restricted from using autodialer technology to call mobile phones. Similarly, the use of text messaging is currently a legal gray area for debt collectors.

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Federal Judge Says FCC Fails on Consent Rules Clarity in TCPA Class Action Ruling

A district judge in Wisconsin last month denied a plaintiff’s petition for class certification in a TCPA case concerning debt collection calls. In an epic footnote discussing his reasoning, the judge noted that the FCC has been lacking in clarifying its rules on consent under the TCPA, and that efforts have revealed that the regulator “appears to be allergic to brevity and clarity.”

Twitter Forced to Defend TCPA Lawsuit on Text Messages; Possible Ramifications for SMS Use in Collections

Using reasoning from a controversial Circuit Court decision involving a debt collection agency, a federal judge in California has denied Twitter, Inc.’s motion to dismiss a class action TCPA case that alleges it used an “automated telephone dialing system” to send text messages to cell numbers belonging to consumers that had not consented to receive them.

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TCPA and FDCPA Class Action Targets New Kind of Business: Digital Rights Enforcers

The long-running legal battle between movie and music studios and consumers that illegally download their products got a novel twist late last week when a consumer attorney filed a class action lawsuit against a company tasked with enforcing the studios’ claims. The suit says that the company is acting as a debt collector and has violated the TCPA and FDCPA.