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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.


Court Denies Professional TCPA Plaintiff’s Request to Amend Prior Judgment and Remand Case to State Court

Repeat Plaintiff Melody Stoops recently asked a judge to modify her order to remand her case to state court, where she could re-litigate her recent Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) case – a case that had just been dismissed by a Pennsylvania District Court. The case hinged on technicalities and the limits of legal definitions, but ultimately the court denied her request.


Georgia District Court Dismisses TCPA Claim Due To Human Intervention

Colette Jenkins v. MGage, LLC, No. 1:14-cv-2791-WSD (N.D. Ga. Aug. 12, 2016) Plaintiff filed this TCPA lawsuit after receiving 150 text messages over an approximately one year period during which she tried to stop the messages on 17 occasions. Defendant moved for summary judgment, contending the messages were not sent using an Automatic Telephone Dialing […]


Judge Cites “Zone of Interests” Protections, Dismisses “Nomorobo” TCPA Lawsuit

On August 8, 2016 a Federal Judge in Illinois dismissed a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) case by determining that the Plaintiff in the matter was not an individual or entity in the “zone of interests” intended to be protected by the TCPA. The Plaintiff in the case, Telephone Science Corporation (TSC) is the operator of a service called “Nomorobo.” On the website the company claims they have stopped over 125,504,140 robocalls. In 2013, the FTC declared Nomorobo a winner of its contest to “design a system to stop unsolicited telemarketing calls before the calls can ring through to the subscriber of the called telephone number.”


District Court Rules in Favor of Bank in Mandatory Arbitration Case

Mandatory arbitration provisions have been a hot topic for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulators, with the Bureau publishing proposed rules that would prohibit mandatory arbitration clauses. The topic has come up again in Beattie v. Credit One Bank, a new case from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (Case No. 5:15-cv-1315 (LEK/TWD).


FCC Releases Rules Limiting Federal Government Debt Collection Calls

Yesterday the FCC released its Final Rules to implement an amendment passed by Congress in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Published two weeks after the CFPB published its Outline of Proposed Rules governing debt collection, we now see the possibility that rules on calls to collect government debt could be more restrictive than calls to collect other types of debt.