New Telephone Consumer Protection Act Coming October 2013

The victims of advertising robocalls have won several recent class-action victories against companies such as Steve Madden Shoes, Coca Cola and Papa John’s.* Many of the class actions brought against those making robocalls are brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a federal law that makes it illegal for companies to contact customers without their prior consent. New updates to the TCPA will take effect on October 16, 2013.*

One recent update that will take effect in October will be an increase in the damages available for violations of the law.* For example, the law will soon provide for a $500 penalty for each violation of the TCPA and for a $1,500 penalty for each violation of the TCPA that is adjudged willful.*

Despite the arguments of many of the companies being sued, the FCC has determined that companies soliciting third parties to make calls on their behalf may be subject to vicarious liability. One limitation on these potential lawsuits will be the fact that certain types of calls and text messages are exempted from coverage under the TCPA.* For example, the updates do not forbid debt collection calls or texts.* The only time those types of calls or text messages could subject a company to liability would be when they contained advertising or marketing information.* Another new rule would not exempt companies with prior business relationships with their customers from the requirement that they obtain unambiguous written consent.* While both sides will benefit from the new rules to be implemented in October, the law still seems to be on the side of the victims of robocalls and automated text messages.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of unauthorized robocall or text message advertising, please contact Audet & Partners, LLP by calling us toll free at 800.965.1461. Alternatively, please complete and submit our confidential inquiry form on the right side of this page.
* Class Actions and Robocalls: Pizza Anyone?, (NoJitter July 4, 2013), http://www.nojitter.com/post/240157815/class-actions-and-robocalls-pizza-anyone?google_editors_picks=true

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