The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) protects cell phone users against unwelcome robo-calls, prerecorded messages and unwanted SMS text messages.
The TCPA also protects residential telephone users from many forms of unsolicited prerecorded calls and violations of the national Do Not Call List. Finally, the TCPA protects fax machine owners from junk faxes.
If a caller violates a cell phone, landline, or fax machine user’s rights under the TCPA, the TCPA provides that the called party can recover $ 500 per violation unless the caller has a valid defense. If the called party can prove that the caller willfully violated the TCPA, the Court may award an additional amount up to $ 1,000 per violation. That’s up to $ 1,500 per call, text, or fax!
LEARN ABOUT HOW THE TCPA CAN HELP YOU STOP UNWANTED CALLS (OR MAKE THE CALLER PAY YOU FOR EACH CALL)
Consumers often consent to calls on their cell phone but most courts have ruled that cell phone users can revoke any prior express consent. This site discusses how to revoke any consent so you should not continue to receive : (1) unwelcome robo-calls, prerecorded messages, or SMS text messages on your cell phone; (2) prerecorded advertising calls to your residential phone; or (3) unwelcome advertising facsimiles.
The statutory protections provided by the TCPA and the FCC regulations and orders interpreting the TCPA are different for : (1) cell phones that receive robo-calls, prerecorded voices or messages, or SMS text messages; (2) pre-recorded advertising messages to residential landlines or cell phones; (3) the national Do Not Call List; and (4) unsolicited advertising faxes. The differences are often substantial.
This site is organized so that you can focus on the type of problem that you have. Click on the buttons for information about topics which appear to best describe your situation.
If you are a Florida resident want to speak with an attorney (not a “case manager”, “investigator”, or other non-lawyer), you are invited to call Mr. Petersen for a free TCPA case evaluation.
FLORIDA CONSUMER LAWYER DONALD E. PETERSEN
Donald E. Petersen represents consumers in individual and class action lawsuits. Mr. Petersen has represented cell phone users in TCPA cases for over a decade. Often, the company that violates the TCPA is an original creditor or a debt collector. Sometimes, the caller is asking to speak with someone else but, usually the account belonged to the person that receives the calls. Mr. Petersen has almost 20 years experience representing consumers in Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Bankruptcy Code and can apply this experience to assist his clients against inaccurate credit reporting, stop illegal dunning letters, as well as help combat the cell phone harassment. In 1988, Mr. Petersen was admitted to practice in state trial courts throughout the State of Florida. Mr. Petersen is also admitted to practice in the United States District Courts for the Middle District of Florida, Northern District of Florida and the Southern District of Florida.
CALL DONALD E. PETERSEN AT 407 – 648 – 9050
Mr. Petersen provides free initial consultations concerning Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act cases. You can afford an experienced lawyer.
ARE YOU RECEIVING DIRECT TO CELL PHONE VOICEMAIL MESSAGES?
The latest scheme to circumvent the TCPA are direct to voicemail messages. The caller uses a computer code to call the cell phone company’s computers where voice mails are stored, and leaves a message directly on the cell phone user’s voicemail account without the cell phone ever ringing. If you are receiving voice messages on your cell phone but your phone did not ring (and the line was not busy), contact Mr. Petersen to discuss your potential case.
MORE TCPA CASE TYPES
Over a decade ago, Mr. Petersen observed that many of his TPCA clients were also being harassed by debt collectors or creditors who were also violating the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (“FDCPA”), Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA) in addition to the TCPA. Sometimes, these creditors or debt collectors were relentlessly pursuing debts which were discharged in bankruptcy or were time barred by the statute of limitations. Sometimes, the debt collector was calling about a debt allegedly owed by someone my client did not even know. Each case is unique but some issues are common to each of these scenarios.
IS A DEBT COLLECTOR IS CALLING YOU ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE’S DEBT? HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM LEAVE YOU ALONE?
Debt collectors are often among the most “persistent” (expressing it mildly) violators of the TCPA. Debt collectors call frequently call people who do not owe the alleged debt and, in many of these cases, the called party does not even know the person who allegedly owes the debt. Often, the called party’s problems are compounded by the debt collector’s automated telephone system, poorly trained or overly aggressive collectors, as well as the autodialers that continue to unleash the robocalls.
Many debt collectors employ automated bifurcated greetings which begin
“This is an important call for John Doe and contains personal information. If you are not John Doe, please hang up now.” Another variation of the prerecorded messages is “This is an important call for John Doe. If you are John Doe, press 1. If you are not John Doe, please hang up.” Most cell phone users dutifully hang up as instructed although many of these cell phone users will eventually remain on the line or press “1” or whatever else is required to speak with a human. Unfortunately, the calls often continue even after the cell phone user informs the caller that they are calling the wrong person or wrong number and explains that “You are calling my cell phone” and instructs the caller to “Stop Calling!”. If you are receiving calls about someone else (often about someone’s debt but not necessarily), call Mr. Petersen now or visit the library listed below by clicking on the blue button which describes your situation.
Of course, creditors and debt collectors usually call the person who may owe the alleged debt rather than a stranger to the account. Mr. Petersen can help consumers recover under the TCPA regardless of whether they may owe the debt. But, extra steps are often required before such consumers become protected by the TCPA against unwanted collection calls.IS ANYONE CALLING YOU ABOUT SOMEONE YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW? IS ANYONE CALLING YOU ABOUT YOUR (OR YOUR SPOUSE'S) DEBT? IS ANYONE CALLING YOU ABOUT A FRIEND OR RELATIVE ?
HOW DOES THE TELEPHONE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT (“TCPA”) COMPARE TO THE FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT (“FDCPA”)?
It usually pays to know the difference between your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the TCPA. The FDCPA caps statutory damages at $ 1,000 per violation (i.e., per plaintiff per case) while the TCPA allows phone users to recover between $ 500 to $ 1,500 per call. That’ why following generic advice on the internet — such as mailing a debt collector a “cease communication” letter — may be an extremely expensive mistake.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF THE UNWANTED CALLS CONCERN A DEBT THAT YOU DISCHARGED IN A BANKRUPTCY?
For approximately twenty years, Mr. Petersen has represented consumers who discharged their debts in bankruptcy but who still receive calls from the original creditor or a debt collector attempting to collect the discharged debt. Often, the “ruse” consists of endless calls soliciting the borrower to “modify” their mortgage even after the borrower surrendered the home in bankruptcy and, sometimes, even after the foreclosure sale. Unfortunately, the “Discharge of Debtor” has limited “teeth” and judges’ confidence in their power to award substantial sanctions against companies who willfully violate their discharge orders vary widely. When creditors or debt collectors robo call the debtor’s cell phone after the court discharged the debtor’s accounts, the creditor often violates the TCPA and other non-bankruptcy laws in addition to the bankruptcy discharge. In these cases, it is often necessary to prosecute actions in both bankruptcy court and the federal trial court in order to assure that the credit reports are properly updated, the bills stop, and the consumer is properly compensated for the unwelcome telephone calls.
ARE YOU RECEIVING CALLS ABOUT A DEBT THAT YOU BELIEVE IS TIME-BARRED BY THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?
The statute of limitations is the period of time that the creditor or debt collector in allowed in which to file a complaint without it becoming “too old” (time barred) if they sue to collect it.
The statute of limitations on most debts are determined by state law.
Some consumers inform me that they are still receiving calls attempting to collect debts that, if the debts were a child, the debts would have a driver’s license. One consumer even received calls from a publicly traded debt collector requesting that he pay a debt that was old enough to vote and even drink (i.e., the debt was 21 or 22 years old)! Some of the large (solvent) debt collectors engage in aggressive tactics when attempting to collect debts whose statute of limitation has expired.
To learn more about how the TCPA, along with the FDCPA, and how to protect yourself against phone harassment from callers who are attempting to collect time barred accounts, click immediately below :
CHECK OUT THE TCPA BLOG FOR IN DEPTH ANALYSIS AND ARTICLES ABOUT RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
Regardless of the type of “device” that you are receiving the calls on (cell phone, landline, or fax number) and the type of call (live call, prerecorded voice or messages, SMS text, or facsimile), some parts of the TCPA are common to most or all of these situations. Such topics of general application include : (1) How do I prove my case?; (2) how do I revoke consent for a company to call me on my cell phone?; and (3) how long do I have to sue? (in other words, “What is the statute of limitations on TCPA claims?”). Check out the TCPA Blog for topics of general application and the latest developments about the TCPA.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ABOUT THE TCPA AND UNWANTED TELEPHONE CALLS
The Resource Library includes copies of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, recent FCC regulations and Orders interpreting the TCPA issued by the FCC. Mr. Petersen is expanding the Resource Library to include state laws intended to protect consumers (and businesses) from unsolicited calls, SMS text messages, and junk faxes.
GET STARTED TODAY
Hopefully, the information in this site assures you that you do NOT have to continue to tolerate unwelcome telephone calls which you are receiving. Mr. Petersen looks forward to learning more about your potential case and discussing how he can help you enforce your rights.
To get started towards enjoying your privacy again, call or contact Don Petersen today.
CALL DONALD E. PETERSEN AT 407 – 648 – 9050
Or provide a brief description of your potential case and along with your contact information for a free case evaluation.
(C) 2017 Donald E. Petersen