By: Sheila Raftery Wiggins
Companies make automated calls to customers who owe money. These calls are governed by a federal statute, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). When a company violates the TCPA, the damages are calculated for each call. That can be costly. Due by June 6, 2016, the FCC seeks comments about changing the scope of the TCPA, including:
- “solely to collect a debt” – The FCC proposes to interpret “solely to collect a debt” to mean only those calls made to obtain payment after the borrower is delinquent on a payment. The FCC also seeks comments regarding who may be called in order to ensure that a debtor’s family and friends are not subjected to non-consent robocalls seeking information about the debtor.
- “debt servicing calls” – The FCC proposes that servicing calls are included in the covered calls and that covered calls begin when a borrower is delinquent on a payment.
- consumer’s ability to stop covered calls – The FCC proposes that the stop-calling requests should apply to a subsequent collector of the same debt.
- residential lines – Robocalls to residential lines for debt collection are not subject to the prior express consent requirement. The FCC seeks comments regarding revising this rule.
Consider: (1) your business and industry practices and (2) the courts’ rulings are very different in the different jurisdictions. This is a great opportunity to provide comments to the FCC.