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Debt collectors using auto-dialers face BIG fines

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  • Debt collectors using auto-dialers face BIG fines

    September 15, 2010

    The average consumer debt collector employee places 200 collection calls per day or 50,000 calls per year! How do they make so many calls? Most use a technology known as autodialing, even though the use of an autodialer by a collector often violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

    The penalty for violating the TCPA is HUGE - Every illegal phone call carries with it a $500 penalty, and if the collector knows he is violating the Act, the penalty is tripled!

    As the name implies, an auto-dialer is a sophisticated computer system that constantly and continuously dials numbers on collection accounts. When someone answers the phone, the computer immediately delivers the call to a collector, and the account pops up on the collector's monitor. So, if you are behind in your bills, you (and your family and your employer) are getting calls from your debt collectors - a lot of calls!

    Not every call using an autodialer is illegal. Most notably, a consumer debt collector can call a debtor at home using an autodialer.

    However, the following two acts violate the TCPA if an autodialer is used:

    Making a collection call to a cell phone belonging to the debtor or any third party
    Making a collection call to any telephone number not belonging to the debtor

    Like every rule, there is an exception. If the debt collector has the prior written consent of the recipient, then there is NO VIOLATION. For instance, if the debtor gives the debt collector permission to call his cell number, or if that's the only number the debtor provided his creditor, there is no violation. However, the debtor can revoke that consent by advising the collector that he has reached a cell phone and that he does not have permission to call that number again.

    TCPA violations often occur when consumer collectors contact the debtor's family members or coworker looking for the debtor. If an autodialer is used to place the call, there is an immediate violation of $500. If the collector KNOWS that the number he is dialing belongs to debtor's family members or coworker, the fine is $1,500 for a single call. So, if the debtor's parents get 100 calls from a harassing collector, the statutory fine is as high as $150,000!

    How do you know if an autodialer is being used to make calls to you or your friends, family and coworkers? You don't, but it is safe to assume that every collection call is using the technology. An attorney familiar with the TCPA can subpoena the collection agency and acquire account notes generated by the computer system.

    Why would a collection agency employ a technology that exposes the agency to huge civil penalties? The enormous profits generated by autodialing far outweigh the potential penalty when caught. In other words, it is just the cost of doing business.

    http://www.bankruptcylawnetwork dot com/2010/09/15/debt-collectors-using-auto-dialers-face-big-fines/#more-17223
    Filed Chapter 7 July 2010
    Attended 341 September 2010
    Discharged November 2010 Closed November 2010

  • #2
    Ok I know this post is from 2010, but I have a question. We walked to a consumer rights atty for my son and debt collectors. He said keep a log of every phone call or msg. We sent a CErtified return reciept requested letter to PRA and recieved the card back. It was a dispute letter asking for proof. My son said they just called him to set up a payment plan and he told them of the letter he sent. She said no, we sent you a letter. He again told her to check her records, that his letter was asking for proof of the debt and he was revoking the right for PRA to call his cell phone or his parents phone. She looked, said, oops we have it and hung up on him! We have not recieved a DV letter yet. Did they violate? And yes it was with auto dialer.... Answer....pause.... Someone comes on line


    • #3
      Originally posted by mdl View Post
      Ok I know this post is from 2010, but I have a question.
      Yes it is old, and it is also against the rules to revive dead posts. Please start a new post with your question.
      All information contained in this post is for informational and amusement purposes only.
      Bankruptcy is a process, not an event.......


      • #4
        They deserve for it.


        • #5
          Originally posted by JosephGoldbu View Post
          They deserve for it.
          You didn't read the moderator's post above your single post? This is not a good way to start--reviving old threads...
          "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

          "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."


          • #6
            Yikes I guess I did not see that coming..
            Life on planet earth is fun and I enjoy being here.

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            • #7
              No response required to jedolaw.
              Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
              Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
              Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

              I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


              • #8
                I was talking about the topic.. It's silly because auto dialers are a great tool and I disagree with the "big fines" I don't think it really makes sense to take technology out of a business.
                Life on planet earth is fun and I enjoy being here.

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