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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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ARM Firms Should Not Be Deceived by TCPA Victories

Debt collectors breathed a collective sigh of relief after the Eleventh Circuit reversed a district court ruling in the Mais case. Coupled with the FCC’s seemingly business-friendly declaratory rulings of GroupMe and Cargo Airline Association, matters appear to be on the upswing for creditor representatives with regard to the TCPA. But don’t be deceived: the relief brought by the positive developments must be tempered by the amicus curiae brief filed by the FCC in a case involving a collector.

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Circuit Court Sides with Debt Collector in Reversing Controversial TCPA Ruling

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday unanimously reversed a lower court ruling in Mais v. Gulf Coast Collection Bureau, a case that was extremely controversial in the debt collection industry due to the district judge deliberately ignoring an FCC ruling regarding consent to call a cell phone. Monday’s decision and opinion is seen as a major victory for debt collectors.

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Another Court Refuses to Defer to FCC’s Express Consent Ruling in TCPA Case

A district judge in New York this week certified a class action TCPA case against a debt collection agency where the defendant argued it had express prior consent to call a cell phone because the plaintiff had provided that number to the creditor. The ruling referenced and ignored an FCC order that allowed for autodialed calls to cell phones with express consent.