What is the TCPA?
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a 1991 federal law that prohibits and restricts many types of telemarketing to cell phones, and calls made using auto dialing software. Congress originally enacted the law to address the onslaught of unwanted and harassing telemarketing calls to landlines. However, the law has been interpreted to provide additional protections for cell phone users.
Originally, the TCPA offered protection against calls from telemarketers and debt collectors. Recently, lawsuits have been filed against a number of companies in other industries such as social networking, professional sports teams, pharmacies, and travel and entertainment companies.
What are companies prohibited from doing?
Among other prohibitions, companies typically cannot:
(1) Make any commercial or advertising call to your cell phone without your prior written consent.
(2) Send commercial or advertising text/SMS messages to you without your prior written consent. Example.
(3) Use an automatic telephone dialing system to place a call to anyone without that person’s express consent.
(4) Use an artificial or prerecorded voice to call anyone for commercial or advertising purposes.
(5) Send unsolicited faxes.
What happens when a company violates the TCPA?
The TCPA provides a private cause of action for any person who is the victim these types of calls or texts. A person who receives these calls or texts may file an individual cause of action or class action lawsuit.
What are my damages?
If you are the victim of a TCPA violation, you may recover your actual damages. However, knowing the difficulty in proving an actual monetary loss, Congress included a provision in the TCPA allowing for each aggrieved person to recover a specific dollar amount for TCPA violations. The law provides that in lieu of recovering actual damages, each plaintiff can recover a flat $500 per violation. If the court finds that the violation was willful or intentional, the court may increase this amount up to a maximum sum of $1,500 per violation.
Please call our office at (314) 725-4400 or send us a message if you have questions about a possible TCPA claim.