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debt collector using automated dialer to a user pay consumer phone line

Monday, October 13, 2014 - Posted by Philip Harvey

In the US, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") does not allow unsolicited calls from people or companies such as debt collection agencies to be made to telephone numbers from automated telephone dialer systems where the consumer pays for inbound telephone calls.

One consumer in the US had his residential telephone line converted to a Voice over Internet Protocol line ("VoIP") whereby he was then charged for inbound telephone calls (on the old connection he was not).

A debt collector contacted the consumer 37 times. The consumer advised the debt collector that he had not given consent to contact him on the number and that he was receiving charges for the calls the collection agency was making. The collector phone a further three times after this notification and request.

The consumer took the debt collector to Court and won, arguing that automated calls placed to users who pay for inbound calls breached the TCPA. The debt collection agency argued they were exempt from the TCPA because the calls were made to a residential line for a commercial purpose under an exemption ("the residential line" provision).

In Australia, our telecommunications are setup differently whereby inbound calls are generally not charged to any device (mobile or fixed line). Whereas in the US, it is typical for mobile phone users and VoIP users to receive charges for inbound telephone calls.

 

This article was sourced from ACA International on 9 October 2014


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