Creditors and debt collectors cannot use an auto-dialer or pre-recorded voicemail messages when calling a consumer’s cellular telephone to either collect debts or provide telemarketing messages without having prior permission to do so.
- Debt Collection Calls. If creditors or debt collectors were not consensually given your cellular telephone number (e.g., you didn’t give them your cell number in the application for the account), they cannot make auto-dialed debt collection calls or use pre-recorded voicemail messages to make calls to your cell phone in an attempt to collect a debt. Period. How would they get your cell phone number if you didn’t give it to them? They would likely skip trace <<pop up box providing definition; example>> you, or check public records, to obtain your cell phone without your consent, upload it into their auto-dialing systems, and then repeatedly call you to collect the debt.
Alternatively, even if you did provide the creditor (and hence the debt collector) with your cellular telephone number in the application to create and obtain the account, the fact that the creditor or debt collector may initially have had your consent to auto-dial your cellular telephone in an attempt to collect the debt does not mean that they have such permission forever. If you receive a call from a creditor, debt collector or telemarketer, and ask them to stop calling you, you have revoked consent to call using an automatic telephone dialing system.
How do you revoke consent? Any communication indicating to the creditor, debt collector or telemarketer that you do not want to receive the call any further will suffice.
- “Please stop calling.”
- “I no longer wish to receive these calls.”
- “I have an attorney; please call him/her with regard to this matter.”
- “Buzz off. I don’t want to talk to you again.”
Consent to call is freely given….and can be freely revoked. Simply tell them to stop calling. If they keep calling, note when the calls are made using a Communications Log, capture a screen shot, or save the pre-recorded voicemail message(s) left for you. It is important to not block their number so you can record every call attempted.
- Telemarketing Calls. Telemarketers can only make auto-dialed calls to your cellular telephone or send SMS texts to your cell phone if you have given the telemarketer prior express written consent to make sure calls. Prior Express Written Consent essentially means that the telemarketer must have conspicuously asked for permission to make such calls or to send you such texts…and you must have taken affirmative steps to have agreed to have such calls or texts sent. Finally, the telemarketer cannot make receiving such auto-dialed calls or spam texts a condition of signing up (i.e., it cannot be a requirement or unavoidable).
- If you receive such telemarketing calls or spam texts and did not sign up for such service by providing your cell number and explicit permission to auto-dial or spam text your cellular phone, you could have rights for invading your privacy under the TCPA, with each call or spam text providing between $500 to $1500 per call or text.