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Q: What Constitutes a Violation of the TCPA?

The primary purpose of he federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, also known as the TCPA is to reduce the number of nuisance calls and to protect the consumer's right to privacy. The following practices are prohibited by the TCPA.

The TCPA prohibits use of automated calls, pre-recorded messages and text messages to cell telephones. The law applies to all cell phones whether used for business or personal use. In essence, a telemarketer or debt collector violates the law every time it makes an automated "robo" call, pre-recorded message, or text message to a consumer's cell phone, unless the consumer previously gave the telemarketer or debt collector permission to call. In cases where consent has been previously given, the consumer can revoke that consent by notifying the telemarketer or debt collector to stop calling the cell phone.

The TCPA prohibits pre-recorded messages for calls made to residential telephone lines. It only applies to solicitations from telemarketers/sellers with whom the consumer does not have an "established business relationship." If the consumer has done business with a telemarketer/seller within the last 18 months, or made inquiry within the last three months, then it is presumed under the TCPA that the consumer has an established business relationship with that telemarketer/seller.

The TCPA prohibits any solicitations calls to those consumers whose telephone numbers are registered on the Do-Not-Call List. Consumers can place both their cell phone and residential lines on the Do-Not-Call registry.

Under the TCPA, telemarketers and debt collectors using an auto dialer are also forbidden from other practices, including calling the consumer before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. The caller must additionally, during any call, provide his or her name, the name of the business entity on whose behalf the call is being made, and a telephone number or address at which the person or entity can be reached.

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