TCPA — First Key: Only Certain Calls to Your Cell Phones Are Covered

TCPA — First Key:  Only Certain Calls to Your Cell Phones Are Covered

TCPA -- First Key:  Only Certain Calls to Your Cell Phones Are CoveredThis is the first of a five part series on using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to stop creditors and debt collectors from blowing up your cell phone with computer dialed calls.

The very first step is to figure out what type of calls are you receiving?

Sometimes we have people who will call us and say, “This debt collector is calling me three times a day and he violates TCPA.”

We say, “What kind of call was it?”

“It’s the same lady every time. There’s no computer involved.”

It’s a little difficult to always know that that’s the situation.

However, let’s assume that it’s a human being dialing the number on a phone that does not have the ability, as currently equipped, to do auto dialed calls.

Or if they didn’t call your cell phone. The TCPA does not cover that.

What the TCPA covers will be computer dialed calls and text messages to your cell phone.

This including pre-recorded and artificial voice recordings.

The industry tried to fight us on that and said, “Text messages aren’t the same thing.”

But they’re covered and I think that’s pretty well established.

You can think of these auto-dial calls as a computer where you plug in 10,000 names and numbers and you tell it, “Call all these people in the next two hours.”

Then, it  just calls them.

There’s no human being involved.

This is how most debt collectors operate.

Unfortunate, this is also how most collection departments, credit card companies or other companies operate.

This is because it’s very inefficient to pay somebody to manually punch in the numbers when you can have a computer just call and call.

When a human being answers, either there will be a message (a pre-recorded message or a computer voice) that says, “This is an important message for Joe Smith. Stay on the line,” or, “Call us back,” or whatever it may be.

If it goes to a human being, the company is only paying the employees who actually talk on the phone not to leave voicemail messages or to dial the number.

We’re only talking about autodialed calls, which are sometimes called computer dialed or robo dialed calls.

There are some subtle distinctions (what’s called a predictive dialer) but for our purposes, we’re just going to call that computer dial.

Pre-recorded messages could be from a human being.

However, it’s not a human being leaving them a message live on your voicemail or when you pick up.

Usually you can tell when it’s pre-recorded.

Sometimes it will sound like a human being, but then when it says your name, it will obviously be a mechanical or machine-generated voice.

I’ll give you an example.

The message will say, “This is a very important message for *robot voice* John Watts. If you are not *robot voice * John Watts, then hang up.”

That’s not a person leaving that.

If I answer the phone and it says, “Please hold for the next available representative,”  then obviously that’s not a human being saying that to me live, because otherwise, they would just talk to me.

That’s a pre-recorded message or a computer-mechanical voice.

That’s what we’re talking about.

Understand it’s not a human being picking up the phone and calling you on your cell phone.

That does not count.

It’s beyond the scope of what we can cover today about exactly how we figure out there’s a human being on the other end, but did they use an autodialer?

Recognize that if we have an autodialer/computer dialer or pre-recorded message, then the TCPA will apply.

That’s our first key that we want to focus on.

Contact Us.

If you have questions about whether calls or texts you are receiving to your cell phone may violate the TCPA, feel free to call us.

You can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447.

 You can also contact us online and we will be glad to discuss your options with you.

We are also happy to send you a free information package so you can better understand your rights.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

-John G. Watts

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