Beginning October 16, 2013, financial institutions and businesses must obtain express written consent in order to place (1) any autodialed or prerecorded call or text message to a cell phone; or (2) any prerecorded call to a residential land line for marketing purposes. What does this consent entail? Businesses must obtain express written consent that is unambiguous and conspicuous, making it clear that the consumer will receive autodialed or prerecorded phone solicitations.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act has become a new favorite cause of action for plaintiffs’ attorneys who sue creditors, collection agencies, and other entities. The number of TCPA suits has more than tripled since 2010. With total damages uncapped and damages per violation ranging from $500 to $1,500, these claims have given rise to a cottage industry of new consumer class actions, as well as individual claims.
Because many Americans have jettisoned their land lines in favor of cellular telephones only, it is important for institutions to keep in mind the likely need to call someone’s cellular telephone should an account ever to into collections. Previously, lawsuits could be defended by claiming consumers had given “prior consent” to be contacted or that there was an established relationship. Now, those defenses are altered by the FTC’s new rule.
With years of experience defending TCPA matters, Spilman’s consumer finance group is particularly well-suited to advise institutions on compliance with the new rule. Contact Spilman or other knowledgeable counsel to review your institutional policies and identify how you can comply with this new rule.