The Telephone Consumer Protection Act Now Affords Protection for Consumers Receiving "Robo" or Auto Dialer Debt Collection Cell Phone Calls

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Debt collector contact via cell phone and without express consent, is a violation of The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the same law that offers protection against telemarketing calls, according to national consumer law firm Weisberg & Meyers, LLC. In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court, for the Eastern District of New York(Civil Action File No.1: 10-cv-00173- JBW-MDG), a New York Consumer allegedly continued to receive cell phone calls from debt collection agency Nelson, Watson & Associates for another consumer's debt despite multiple verbal requests to cease contact.

Receiving repeated invasive phone calls from a debt collector on your cell phone can be a major nuisance. But even more annoying is the cell phone collection call from an auto-dialer or robocall, featuring a pre-recorded, computer generated voice, attempting to collect a debt. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act(TCPA) was enacted primarily to protect consumers from telemarketing calls, or unwanted telephone solicitation, which led to the creation of the “Do not call” registry list. According to consumer protection law firm Weisberg & Meyers, LLC, many consumers are not aware that this same act now offers protection from predictive or auto-dialer calls to your cell phone without your consent

In the past, debt collectors would manually dial a phone number. Now, “thanks to modern technology” and increased efforts for greater time efficiency in the debt collection industry, collectors are using computers, aka “auto” or “predictive” dialers to make the calls on their behalf. Debt collection calls from an auto-dialer have a specific format and script. “Please hold for the next available representative” is usually the opening line followed by a short delay. The delay or pause, whether at the beginning of the call or after the opening line is typically the marker of an auto-dialer. A recent Federal Study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the percentage of cell phone only homes in the US has doubled over the last three years. Thus contact from debt collectors has begun to turn toward debtors cell phones rather than home phones in an effort to collect overdue bills.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act states that the requirement for debt collection calls is the same as it is for auto dialed calls from solicitors - if you did not give consent for contact via your cell phone then these calls could be a violation of the TCPA. If this occurs you could be entitled to $500 damages per call if it’s determined that the calls are a violation of the TCPA. You could potentially receive triple damages if you can prove that the phone calls were made knowingly and with intent.

According to a complaint filed in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York (Civil Action File No.1:10-cv-00173- JBW-MDG) consumer Marco Rafala was receiving calls from a debt collector from collection agency Nelson, Watson & Associates on his cell phone, attempting to collect a debt for a female that he did not know or has never been familiar with. Since the cell phone number belonged to Mr. Rafala for 4+ years, he informed the collector calling that the party they were attempting to reach was not at this number He added that the female they were attempting to contact could not have had this number for 4 or more years. The calls allegedly continued in spite of Mr. Rafala’s documented verbal request to “stop calling me” and Mr. Rafala was allegedly informed that this number would not be removed from the auto-dialer rotation.

Weisberg & Meyers, Attorneys for Consumers, have handled thousands of debt collector complaints and have sued and successfully litigated many cases against collectors using the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. According to Weisberg and Meyers consumer advocate Dennis Kurz, “A seemingly endless barrage of phone calls from a debt collector to your cell phone can be annoying, but the fact that the calls to Mr. Rafala were for an alleged debt for another consumer made the situation even worse.” Kurz, who manages the New York practice for Weisberg and Meyers added, “The FDCPA and the TCPA were enacted to protect consumers from harassment and illegal procedures debt collectors may use, and if it’s determined these calls were violations, the a consumer could be entitled to compensation in addition to cessation of the calls.”

The Law Firm of Weisberg & Meyers, Attorneys for Consumers, will handle cases involving FDCPA, TCPA and FCRA(Fair Credit Reporting Act) violations, Debt Settlement, Breach of Warranty, Lemon Law, Consumer Fraud and Class Action claims. Contact Weisberg & Meyers, LLC for a free consultation by calling 888-595-9111. Or visit and submit your information.


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Marshall Meyers
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