TCPA — Third Key: Revoke Permission If You Ever Gave It

TCPA — Third Key:  Revoke Permission If You Ever Gave It

TCPA -- Third Key:  Revoke Permission If You Ever Gave ItContinuing with our series on the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) as it applies to computer dialed or pre-recorded message calls to your cell phone.

You can read the overview of the five keys to stopping illegal calls to your cell phone and now let’s focus in on “What if you gave permission? What do you do now?”

I think the best thing is to revoke it — revoke the alleged permission.

Even if you are thinking, “I’m not sure if I did,” revoke it.

Why take a chance?

That’s the best advice I can give. Revoke it, and do that in writing here.

I’ll tell you this.

There are different court opinions over how this should be done.

I think that the law allows you to revoke it verbally.

If somebody is calling you on your cell phone and it’s a computer dialer, you can pick that up, wait until a human being comes on, and say, “Don’t ever call my cell phone again.”

I think that they need to not call your cell phone again.

There are some courts who say, “No, that has to be in writing.”

The way they get there I think is inaccurate, but there are some opinions out there.

There were a few courts – and this was absurd – that were saying, “Once you give permission, you can never, ever take that permission away,” which would be unusual in all aspects of law.

We recently had the opinion of a federal court of appeals who was the first one to look at this and they said, “Wait a minute, of course you can revoke it. It’s absurd to say you cannot revoke it.”

If you’re going to do it in writing, which I think is the best way to prove it, then do certified mail, return receipt requested.

That’s where you get the little green card back where a person has to sign it. That way, you know that they got your letter.

Keep a signed copy of your letter – not just a Word version.

Scan that in. You can e-mail it to yourself.

If you have a Gmail or Yahoo account, just get it in the cloud. Use Dropbox, or whatever you use.

Keep a signed copy of it.

When you get that green card back, you just staple that, after you scan it in, to your letter so it’s very clear what they signed for is this letter right here – no question about it.

What do you say in the letter?

You obviously put the address and identify who you are.

You say, “You guys are calling me.”

Then, you can put the account number, but I always suggest that you put that this applies to any account that they have with you.

I don’t know anybody who likes getting their cell phone blown up with computer calls, particularly when you answer and it’s just dead space – nobody is there.

That gets annoying. Ten minutes later, they call back and again, it’s dead space.

So put, “Do not call my cell phone.”

Give them the number.

You want to take away any argument where they say, “We didn’t know which was your cell phone. We accidentally had it as your home phone.”

So you say:  “This is my cell phone. If you think I gave permission, I’m revoking it.”

It’s very simple.

There is no magic language.

You just say, “Look, Capital One/NCO/Bank of America/whoever it is, you’re calling my cell phone. I don’t want you to call my cell phone, and here’s my cell phone number. By the way, if you think I gave you permission, I’m revoking that now. Don’t ever call my cell phone.”

It’s amazing.

These guys will still come to court and argue and say, “We didn’t know that when you said, ‘Don’t call my cell phone,’ that you meant, ‘Don’t call my cell phone.’”

I don’t know how they argue that with a straight face, but they’re pretty good at arguing that.

They’re not good at winning that, but we want to make it as simple as possible so you give them no basis to argue – at least legitimately argue – that they were confused.

Sometimes we ask them in a deposition, “What part of this confused you? Where it says, ‘Do not call?  Did that confuse you?’”

It’s kind of funny to watch the squirm.

So to review our keys to using the TCPA, this is the third key.

Remember, it’s computer dial calls to your cell phone as number one.

Number two is, “Did you give permission?”

Number three, if you gave permission, revoke it.

(You can read the fourth key about how to document the calls).

If you have any doubt, revoke it.

Sometimes you all have doubt.

You’ll say, first of all, “Yeah, I’ve got this mortgage company calling me. I never had this mortgage company. My house is paid off and they’re calling me.”

Obviously, you did not give them permission if they’re calling you about a past-due mortgage and you don’t owe anybody on your house.

Maybe you say, “I took out a Bank of America credit card in 2000, and I stopped paying on it in 2004, and I got this cell phone number in 2007.”

In this situation you don’t have to revoke.

But other times you will have doubt so revoke the permission if you don’t want these types of calls.

Contact Us.

If you live in Alabama and have questions about the TCPA may protect you, feel free to get in touch with us.

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

Or you can  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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