On the 15th of February 2012, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) accepted changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). Now, the TCPA will require telemarketers to gain 'prior express written consent' from consumers prior to placing an autodialed or prerecorded marketing call ('robocall') to residential landline phones.
The TCPA does allow debt collectors to call residential LAND lines since the collection does not involve telemarketing. However, debt collectors are still prohibited from making collection calls to consumers on their cell phone, unless the consumer has given express consent to be called on his or her cell phone.
The express consent may be obtained on paper or through electronic means. These means include: website forms, a telephone keypress, or a recording of an individual's oral consent. The current regulations ban robocalls to cell phones, while the new rules extend the prohibition to residential lines, unless the telemarketer obtains consent.
If you have given your cell phone number on a credit application, then you are deemed to have given consent to the creditor’s collection agents to call you. The good news is, you can revoke consent any time. Ask the caller to stop calling you on your cell phone AND put your request in writing and send it certified mail. Keep a copy of the letter. If you cannot afford certified mail, make sure you keep copies of the envelopes.
They should be properly addressed and stamped with U.S. postage to both the collection agency and the creditor (two separate letters asking them to stop calling your cell phone). Make sure you provide your account number, cell phone number, your name and complete address in the written revocation of your prior consent to be called on your cell phone.
The new rules would also prohibit telemarketers from making robocalls or sending texts to individuals based entirely on an 'established business relationship' with individuals. Telemarketers must also provide 'an automated, interactive opt-out mechanism during each robocall'. The new rules will go into effect after approval by the Office of Management and Budget and publication in the Federal Register.
If you find yourself caught in a situation like this, call Rex Anderson at (810) 653-3300. Rex is a consumer lawyer that sues abusive debt collectors across Michigan in Federal Courts. Email Rex at firstname.lastname@example.org.