Author Topic: Using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to your advantage  (Read 66088 times)

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usofa

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A Primer on the TCPA and Cell Phones
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is a Federal law designed to help protect the privacy of individuals. It has a couple of sections that are VERY helpful to someone dealing with collection calls.

The Act has a couple of sections. The most famous section authorizes the Do Not Call List for telephone solicitations (telemarketing). The next most common area of the TCPA prevents Junk Faxes. Finally, the section that is most helpful to someone being harassed by debt collectors deals with Telephone Dialing Devices and Prerecorded messages.

How the TCPA can be your friend
Aggressive Credit Repair often includes the enforcement of a consumers rights as a negotiating point with Debt Collectors. The threat of filing suit is a powerful weapon if used properly.   This website typically encourages using the finer points of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in a way to encourage a collection agency to “See things your way.”

One drawback to relying on the FDCPA is the fact that it only applies to Third Party collections. With limited exceptions, the FDCPA does not apply to the original creditor. However, the TCPA applies to any person making telephone calls, with a few exceptions. That means that a consumer can use the TCPA equally against the annoying telephone calls from the collection department of the local bank, credit card issuer, collection agency or Junk Debt Buyer.

What Does the TCPA prohibit?
One of the clearest violations of the TCPA is the following section:
Quote
It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States, or any person outside the United States if the recipient is within the United States (A) to make any call (other than a call made for emergency purposes or made with the prior express consent of the called party) using any automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice—to any telephone number assigned to a paging service, cellular telephone service, specialized mobile radio service, or other radio common carrier service, or any service for which the called party is charged for the call;



Under this section, the following calls would not be allowed:
1.   Calling a cell phone to telemarket if the caller uses an automatic telephone dialing device.
2.   Calling a cell phone to collect on a bad debt if the caller uses an automatic telephone dialing device.
3.   Calling a cell phone to collect on a bad debt using a prerecorded message asking the caller to call in and speak to a representative.

So, how do I know if the call is illegal? When you answer the phone, did you have to wait a few seconds after you said hello before a representative answered back? Did you answer the phone, only to be asked to wait for an operator?  Did you answer the call and then discover that there was no one on the line? These are all examples of calls made by a  “predictive dialer”. This is a computer that calls numbers and attempts to pace the calls so that shortly after ending one call, another call is transferred to an operator.

The FCC has the authority to set the regulations for the TCPA. Under the regulations, a predictive dialer is specifically defined to be an automatic telephone dialing device. So any of these calls are illegal.

IMPORTANT CAVEATS:
•   The regulations do not apply to calls placed for emergencies. 
•   The regulation does not apply to calls placed with the “Express Consent” of the called party.
•   The regulation does not apply if they dial a landline and you have the call forwarded to a cell phone.
•   If the call is dialed manually, then it is legal.
•   There is NO exception for calls from debt collectors (They may try to tell you that.  That statement is false and misleading.)

The first exception is pretty clear. Not many Collection Agencies will call to tell you that your house is on fire, so I doubt they can successfully use this exception.

The second exception is a bit stickier.  The definitions in the Act and the regulations enforcing it do not define express consent in regards to this section. I have not been able to find any case law defining it either. In the FCC’s commentary on the original regulations promulgated in 1992, they state that providing the number to the calling party implies that you consent to receiving phone calls. Theoretically, this could include when they ask you, “do you have any other numbers for our records” or if you include the number on a credit application.”

In regulations dealing with other sections of the Act, they do define that express consent must be signed and in writing giving explicit permission to call a specified number. Many followers of the TCPA are of the belief that indicates that the commission feels that it is no longer sufficient to have a customer give you a cell phone number or include it on a credit application without indicating that by providing the number you are consenting to being called by an automatic device or recording.

This theory is based on the fact that providing a telephone number is implied consent to call the number by dialing the phone manually. Following up with it is not express consent to dialing it automatically or with recorded messages.
The third exception is also pretty clear. The must dial a number assigned to a cell phone for it to be a violation, so call forwarding does not count. In 2002, the FCC clarified that if the number was originally a land line, but you had it permanently assigned to a cell phone by transferring the number, then it would be a violation. The FCC makes it clear that there are methods to determine if the number is currently assigned to a cell phone line. They do provide that in the first 15 days after a landline is changed to a cell provider, the caller is not responsible. However, once the 15 days is up, it is a violation.

How to use this to our advantage.
The TCPA provides a private right of action in STATE court for anyone that is aggrieved by another person. The penalty is actual damages or $500 per call. That means the violations can add up quickly. If they call you twice a day for 7 day that is 14 calls times $500 each or $7,000.  You can sue in state court, small claims court if the amount is less than their limits, use these violations as counter-claims if you are being sued or just threaten them with the penalties.

Now then, if you think that they have your “express consent” to call you, simply answer the call by stating this is my cell phone, you do not have my consent to call this number and hang up. Get it recorded. That is it. They no longer have your express consent to call and any further calls are now violations.

In addition, the TCPA provides that for willfully or knowingly violating the Act the penalty is triples. That is right, if they are informed that they do not have consent to call and that the phone number is assigned to a cell phone the damages are $1500 per call.

Most phone drones and collectors ignore you when you tell them this. The calls will just be coded in their computer system as hung up and they will keep calling. And keep racking up the violations.

It is important to keep a log off all of these calls. If your phone bill indicates incoming calling numbers, it is real simple.
Don’t know who is calling your cell phone? There is a great resource at http://www.whocalled.us. They have a user supplied datebase of annoying phone callers. Just enter in the number from caller ID and odds are they can tell you who is calling. This includes most toll free numbers. I have had success finding out who almost all incoming 800 numbers are by searching this site.

What, they don’t have your cellphone number? Well, when they call and your roommate, friend etc answers the phone, make sure they tell them your cell number to get hold of you. If someone else gives them the number, they cannot claim they have your consent. Eventually someone will enter the number into your records and then the calls will start.

Making the Grade
When you have decided that you have accumulated enough violations to get some money, then the work begins. I have had success by using this script with the phone drone. When they dunn you, respond with:
Quote
This call is the xx call you have placed in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. XX times you have called my cell phone using an automated telephone dialing device. The civil penalty is $500 per call. That is a total of XX,000 dollars. How would you like to make payment?

Of course the representative will have no clue, so follow up by asking for a supervisor, and tell them the same thing. They will be bewildered. Just keep repeating it, until they are frustrated and give up asking for their payment. Then ask for the compliance department or the legal department. 9 times out 10, they will want to pass the buck. This works well with small time collection agencies.

One thing this should assure, they will remove the cellphone from their records.

My usual next step is to follow up with a well written ITS, copy of a complaint ready to file, and a copy of the TCPA to their legal or compliance department. For collection agencies, I also research their records with the Secretary of State and follow up with the ITS to each of the officers listed on their state filed paperwork.

For the large credit grantors like the big banks, they managers have no clue, but will give you an address to mail correspondence to. Send them the package like you would to a collection agency. But in addition, I have googled the company name and “General Counsel”.  I have always been able to get a name and address. This is usually the Executive and head of the legal department. Make sure you search as high up the corporate chain as you can. For example, credit cards are issued by subsidiaries of the major bank holding companies. You want the general counsel of the highest company level you can get.

The general counsel’s office will usually respond rather quickly. This is even more effective then sending to the registered agent. Stuff rolls down hill and when the top brass get something like this, they want it fixed and they want it fixed yesterday.

Why are you taking my word for this?
This may sound very interesting, but it is very real. I have yet to file a civil suit for violations of the TCPA. However, I have used this strategy quite successfully. When you find a real live person who is an attorney or compliance expert, given them the facts, educated them about the TCPA and convinced them that you are serious, the checks will follow.
Every single one of my TCPA settlements have included confidentiality agreements. Therefore I will have to be vague, however in the last 6 months, I have settled the following:

  • One collection agency repeatedly called my cell phone for a $47 bill to an online company.  They wrote me a check for $1,500. Total time from calls till check was about 60 days.
  • A major department store that finances their own credit cards agreed to write off a $200 balance, delete the tradeline and pay me $1,250 for 5 calls to my cell phone when the bill was a few days late. Total time from calls to check was less than 30 days.
  • A major CA paid $1,500 for using prerecorded messages that did not meet the technical rules (More on that in the next installment). Made 5 phone calls and when I finally got a hold of their corporate counsel, took 2 days to negotiate and check was here in 10 days.
  • One of the largest CC issuers in the country just agreed to write off the $1400 balance, delete the tradeline, and pay $1,500 for calling my cellphone 7 times after roommate gave them the number. Time from first letter to mailing to General Counsel to receipt of settlement check was less than 14 days.
  • ]Small telemarketing firm paid me $500 for calling cellphone and offering insurance program. Total time from speaking to owner of company till I received the check was less than 10 days.
I have been able to use the settlement funds to pay down other cards. Most of my current cards are now below 50% utilization. Oh, and I got a new laptop!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask away.

ladyran

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Re: Using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to your advantage
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2007 03:33:59 PM »
Priceless info...  thanks for posting... 

DefLepGirl

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Re: Using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to your advantage
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2007 04:02:07 PM »
Agree with LadyRan

WOW UsofA  Excellent Stuff! 
~I'm not an attorney (nor) do I play one on the internet.. Take everything I *write* as just my personal opinion and experience~

I love quoting Fleppie / Deflepgirl -  E. Normis  (Ok he actually didn't say it but actions speak louder than words..... or in this case words speak louder oooh whatever he loves it!-

Mischievous Smurfy

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Re: Using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to your advantage
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2007 04:29:13 PM »
Several things ...

So the collection industry didn't get the exemption they were lobbying for?  .. last I heard ..  around the first of 06 there were discussions of this ... 


ahhh  I think I see ...  no exception for cell phones ...

second ...  If I'm not mistaken ...  it is illegal to call a landline using an autodialer to deliver a prerecorded message and the "existing business relationship" was done away with ... actually i participated in a thread about this very question ...

but we still need to know if the collection industry won the efforts to get clear exemption ....  they were asking for a formal opinion or formal rulemaking on the issue ..
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usofa

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Re: Using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to your advantage
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2007 04:48:21 PM »
Good Questions Smurfy

The ACA asked for an exception for debt collectors to the cell phone rule.  The FCC asked for input last year.  They have not released any regulations on the matter.  As for now, there is no exception.

As to the landline question, right now it is against the act to call with a prerecorded message to a residential line. The exisisting business relationship is full of lots of exceptions including debt collectors. I will go into that more in the next chapter I write. There are technical requirements however that give us ammo, however.


foolsmission

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Re: Using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to your advantage
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2007 06:17:39 AM »
Subvert the dominant paradigm. ;D

usofa

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Re: Using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to your advantage
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2007 08:40:29 AM »
Part II: The Land Line
Now that we have covered the basics that apply to cellphones, lets move on to the landline. At first glance, there are still a lot of restrictions that can help us, However, there are also a lot of exceptions to deal with.

The Text of the Act:
Quote
It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States, or any person utside the United States if the recipient is within the United States to initiate any telephone call to any residential telephone line using an artificial or prerecorded voice to deliver a message without the prior express consent of the called party, unless the call is initiated for emergency purposes or is exempted by rule or order by the Commission under paragraph (2)(B).

Quote
Section 2B Exemptions
calls that are not made for a commercial purpose; and such classes or categories of calls made for commercial purposes as the Commission determines will not adversely affect the privacy rights that this section is intended to protect; and  do not include the transmission of any unsolicited advertisement;


What it Means
The Act prohibits calls that are made by with a prerecorded voice to a home number.  However, the exceptions take most of the teeth out of this section. Companies that have an existing business relationship with you can call. Companies that are not offering an item for sale can call. Political Campaigns can call. Debt Collectors can call. Original Creditors can call. Non Profit Organizations can call, Telephone Companies can call, Even your annoying cousin Bob can call and use a message instead of a real live person.

However, the regulations that the FCC has promulgated to enact the legislation go on to put certain requirements on the calls that the exempted parties make. This is the part that we as consumers will like.

The biggie…The calling party must identify themselves by using their state registered legal name at the beginning of the call. That is right, you have to know who is placing the call.

Now in its Second Order on Reconsideration published February 18, 2005, the FCC clarified that “calls made for the purpose of debt collection are not required to identify the caller’s state-registered name in prerecorded messages if doing so would conflict with Federal or state laws.”

This means that if a call is subject to the FDCPA, the caller need not identify the state registered legal name. However the caller must “identify themselves by individual name and state clearly the telephone number (other than that of the autodialer or prerecorded message player that placed the call) of such business, other entity or individual.”

How this Helps
If the caller is not subject to the FDCPA then the message must include the state registered legal name of the business or entity calling. This would apply to all Original Creditors who are exempt from the FDCPA (most but not all states). So when the Credit Card issuer calls you because your payment is 5 days late, in most cases they must include the state registered legal name. Most do not! That means that for example, messages of the following style are not legal: “This message is for XXXXXXXXX, please call Macy’s in regards to your credit card account at XXX-XXX-XXXX”.  In this case the calling party would be Department Stores National Bank.  Macy’s is not the credit grantor.  (this was strictly hypothetical.) You will find that almost all store cards are issued by a National Bank for the interest benefits. The legal name is the issuing bank. Also, many credit cards identify themselves by a brand name, but the party calling is a large bank holding company. Another hypothetical example would be Orchard Bank. The card is serviced by HSBC Bank Nevada. The Calling party is HSBC Cards Services. The call is not placed by Orchard Bank, which exists only on paper.

This would also apply to calls in regards to commercial debt. It is not covered by the FDCPA so there is no conflict in stating the calling parties state registered legal name. Some of the big time collection agencies will stretch the definition of commercial credit to try to exempt themselves from the FDCPA.  If they do, you have the TCPA to fall back on. I know I have, and it pays!

Finally, this will tie back to the automatic telephone dialing device. If a call is placed by a predictive dialer and there is no agent available, the regulations require that the call be transferred to a prerecorded voice. Well, now they need to identify the calling party. So all of those “This is an important call, but all of our operators are busy. Please hold the line for the next available agent” recordings are also in violation of the TCPA.

Putting it all Together
Now that you have the basics down, it is time for the advanced class. Using these tools in a fight for a better credit report.
Knowledge is Power. You hav
e to know who is calling you and when. Start by keeping a log of every collection type call coming into your home. Every single time a collector calls, write down the date, exact time, who called, was it a live call, was it abandoned, etc. You will need the details if you want to go to (or threaten to go to) court.

Do not be afraid of the telephone. If you let all of your calls go to voicemail or an answering machine, it is difficult to catch the telephone predators.  Answer the phone, say hello and wait. If it is a live person and you do not want to talk to them, as soon as they identify themselves, hang up. It is your telephone and your right to hang up. Even if they don’t like it!

Get a few violations at $500 a call. All you need is one, but threat of a lawsuit for $10,000 in violations makes a caller real apt to settle. If you get into a discussion of the TCPA with a phone drone, they probably have never heard of it or will claim they are exempt. It is really not worth it, unless you want to set them up for “Knowingly or Willfully” violating the Act. Remember if that is the case the damages go up to $1500 per call. Don’t expect the legal department, supervisors or compliance departments to be knowledgeable either. 

I recently had to explain it to the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of a major card issuer. This was a board member of an international banking company with an office on Park Avenue in New York City.  I ended up faxing him a copy of the TCPA and a copy of the FCC’s Second Order on Reconsideration. He had just assumed that TCPA involved the do not call list for telemarketing and that since they had a preexisting business relationship with me, they were exempt. He did not even know that it regulated prerecorded messages.  Two days after our conversation, I got an email from him asking what I would like to end this matter.

Again, I advise always start at the top and work your way down the companies hierarchy. The best advice is to start writing an ITS to the Chairman of the Board, President or General Counsel. They may want to be bothered with the matter, but they have underlings who are paid to deal with these types of issues. However, if you start at the bottom with someone in a call center, they will not have any clue who would handle this type of matter.

DefLepGirl

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Re: Using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to your advantage
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2007 06:03:59 PM »
UsofA...

Got a question....

Quote
What it Means
The Act prohibits calls that are made by with a prerecorded voice to a home number.  However, the exceptions take most of the teeth out of this section. Companies that have an existing business relationship with you can call. Companies that are not offering an item for sale can call. Political Campaigns can call. Debt Collectors can call. Original Creditors can call. Non Profit Organizations can call, Telephone Companies can call, Even your annoying cousin Bob can call and use a message instead of a real live person.

What if.....

The debt collector has no business calling you in the first place? (IE) a bad skip trace.....

(Example)  My MIL has gotten about a TON of automated phone calls last fall .....   The phone would ring.... she'd pick up and hear  "Please hold for a very important message"....  She'd wait, (sometimes 3-5 minutes) then half of the time the line would go dead.... The other half a VERY nasty idiot would would pick up and ask for someone by my FIL's name......   

The number they were calling from was spoofed (IE) not a "real" number and led back to no where....      These calls would happen some days every hour on the hour 5-6 x a day......

I finally got involved and had her # forwarded to my home for a couple of days....   Phone calls came and I explained to them that they were calling the WRONG people...  Got the company name (etc. etc.)     

Would this have been covered under the TCPA?   

From what I see from this it would have.....

(IE) They never ID'd themselves.... It was literally like pulling teeth to get them to tell me who they were..... (They NEVER told her)

They did not have an exisiting business relationship with her.......

They were a debt collector BUT... had the wrong person....   (does that make a difference?)  <--- I suppose that's my biggest question right there......


Thank's for this info it ROCKS!   
~I'm not an attorney (nor) do I play one on the internet.. Take everything I *write* as just my personal opinion and experience~

I love quoting Fleppie / Deflepgirl -  E. Normis  (Ok he actually didn't say it but actions speak louder than words..... or in this case words speak louder oooh whatever he loves it!-

Mischievous Smurfy

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Re: Using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to your advantage
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2007 07:44:14 PM »
Good question DLG ...    although we know they violated FDCPA by not ID themselves when specifically asked even if they really thought she/you were the real debtor.

I am also of the belief (IMHO) that failur to ID the CA name in any message left is a violation.  "meaninfully identify" themselves ... like I have said before ... "Hi this is "Sally Johnson" is meaningless ... unless you have previous experience with her or she is an friend/aquintance of yours.

anyway ...

My confusion was the landline issue ...  but was mistaken ..  both the FTC and the FCC regulate telemarketing calls using predictive dialers and prerecorded messages ....

The FTC recently did some rulemaking that began prohibiting these calls .... by telemarketers.



So .. thanks for the update ...

Even those excepted from the predictive dialer/prerecorded message rules are required to have a permit from the FCC.  If I'm not mistaken ... I will go look into that again...

If that is the case ...  its likely many CAs do not obtain the permit ...


And thanks for taking the lead on this .. I was aware of it ... and we need to be using all the ammo we have ...  but I have so much going on that I didn't have the time to do anything like this ...  LOL ....  you can be our resident TCPA guru ...
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usofa

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Re: Using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to your advantage
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2007 10:07:57 PM »
Thanks for calling me the Guru. I have boned up on the TCPA and it has really helped financially.  There was an article on MSNBC.com about two weeks ago about a guy that has made a living off of enforcing the TCPA. He made $27,000 last year.  He is my idol LOL.

As for your questions,

There is no permit required by the FCC to use a predictive dialer, automatic dialer or prerecorded voice messages.

As for the spoofed caller ID's.  That is prohibited by the rules, however they fall under a part of the TCPA that does not provide a private right of action. Only a state's Attorney General or the Commission can enforce that part, under my understanding.

As to the identifying the collection agency in a message, the American Collection Association argued for the exception and the Commission gave it to them. From current court ineterpretations of the FDCPA I don't think it would be a violation of the FDCPA to identiry themselves, since they are required by Foti v NCO to include the mini-miranda. But until the FCC revisits the issue, it is not a violation of the TCPA.

The bad skip calls may be a violation of the TCPA. Under the Act, they can not call a residential number with an automated or prerecorded voice. They are calling with a predictive dialer which is legal, however, if they do not connect to a live operator within 2 secs of your completed greeting, they are required to play a recording that identifies the caller. As a debt collector, they do not have to identify the legal state registered name, but they must identify by name the caller. They must also provide a phone number answered by a live person in this recording.

The Act does not provide a specific Bona Fide error defense, but I am sure they would try it.


Brent

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Re: Using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to your advantage
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2007 04:02:07 AM »
Thanks for calling me the Guru. I have boned up on the TCPA and it has really helped financially.  There was an article on MSNBC.com about two weeks ago about a guy that has made a living off of enforcing the TCPA. He made $27,000 last year.  He is my idol LOL.

As for your questions,

There is no permit required by the FCC to use a predictive dialer, automatic dialer or prerecorded voice messages.

As for the spoofed caller ID's.  That is prohibited by the rules, however they fall under a part of the TCPA that does not provide a private right of action. Only a state's Attorney General or the Commission can enforce that part, under my understanding.

As to the identifying the collection agency in a message, the American Collection Association argued for the exception and the Commission gave it to them. From current court ineterpretations of the FDCPA I don't think it would be a violation of the FDCPA to identiry themselves, since they are required by Foti v NCO to include the mini-miranda. But until the FCC revisits the issue, it is not a violation of the TCPA.

The bad skip calls may be a violation of the TCPA. Under the Act, they can not call a residential number with an automated or prerecorded voice. They are calling with a predictive dialer which is legal, however, if they do not connect to a live operator within 2 secs of your completed greeting, they are required to play a recording that identifies the caller. As a debt collector, they do not have to identify the legal state registered name, but they must identify by name the caller. They must also provide a phone number answered by a live person in this recording.

The Act does not provide a specific Bona Fide error defense, but I am sure they would try it.



I remember that guy spoken of. Young guy, early mid-20's. Ryan somebody. I want to say Sandberg, but that's an old baseball player. He made money off collector calls too, using the FDCPA. He had a presence on all the consumer sites at the time. Ironically, they all ended up banning him. I say ironically, because his methods took the philosophy of the boards to their ultimate level of success. Then again, I've never understood the politics of consumer boards.

Brent

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Tunnel Light

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Re: Using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to your advantage
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2007 11:06:44 PM »
What a week....I get a phone call last week, here's how it goes:
Tunnel: Hello
Woman: (My name)? (real friendly tone)
Tunnel: Huh? (Always play dumb in case it's a skip tracer)
Woman: (My name again)?
Tunnel: Who is this?
Woman: This is Shaka with Buyer's Advantage
Tunnel: Really?
Woman: Blah, blah, blah, yak,yak, yak, and the last four numbers of your Visa card are XXXX? (speaks real fast, but reels off the actual last four numbers of my card!!!!)
Tunnel:  Whoa, wait a minute, if I had a Visa, why in the would I tell you the last four numbers, and if I didn't tell you them, who would give you that kind of information?
Woman:  Well if you'll just give me second to explain (real snide) I'll....
Tunnel:  This conversation is over.  Bye. 

That call just felt really weird and so I immediately called my bank and had them freeze the card and issue a new one.  All is good on that front.

Now, I have a new friend (could be the same company as before) in Georgia who is autodialing me a minimum of four times a day.  The first time I picked it up, again, we go with the trying to establish my first name and they call me by first name as soon as i pick up the phone.  I merely respond with , "Who is this?" and this time I heard something mumbled about "Buyer's Edge" or something like that...and then I said, "Do Not Call me, take this number off ...and then he hangs up on me.  Now the thing is calling me every few hours or so and whenever I answer they hang up.  This is driving me nuts.  It doesn't matter if the machine gets it or I pick up, I'm getting hung up on, but I have had a total of three very short conversations and it always ends with them hanging up on me as soon as I push the "who is this?" question.

I have a complete call log though...because I have Vonage, I'll have to dig it up and compare the numbers, etc.  Dates, times, length of call, etc.  After some deep digging on the net, I finally found out who these clowns are, well, at least their name, address, owner, etc.  They're showing up on caller id with a number and name, but when I call the number back, all I get is incessant ringing, no answer.

The Better Business Bureau lists their category as "Newspaper Subscriptions"....I don't think so!  And btw, they have a few unresolved complaints.

Do I start recording these, and if so, would I have actionable violation under the TCPA?...cause they are not showing any signs of stopping the calls anytime soon.

-Tunnel Light


phoenix2ny

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Re: Using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to your advantage
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2007 12:48:25 AM »
I've got a "Ken Hughes" calling and leaving pre-recorded messages.  Looking him up, I found out he is from Merchants Credit Guide.  Since I wasn't home at the times he's called, I didn't know if he was calling my main # or one of my private numbers. I called back once referencing my main # and was told it was an erroneous call and that I wouldn't receive any other calls.  Now I've received another message so I think they called one of my other numbers. 

I'm thinking I don't have any violations so far. What I should probably do is call them back, tape recorder going, and give them both private #s to see if they can trace it that way.  I'll then tell them they have the wrong # and that they shouldn't call back.  If they call after that, I know it would be an FDCPA violation, but would it also violate the TCPA? What's the SOL on TCPA violations btw?

Mischievous Smurfy

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Re: Using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to your advantage
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2007 01:03:39 AM »
What a week....I get a phone call last week, here's how it goes:
Tunnel: Hello
Woman: (My name)? (real friendly tone)
Tunnel: Huh? (Always play dumb in case it's a skip tracer)
Woman: (My name again)?
Tunnel: Who is this?
Woman: This is Shaka with Buyer's Advantage
Tunnel: Really?
Woman: Blah, blah, blah, yak,yak, yak, and the last four numbers of your Visa card are XXXX? (speaks real fast, but reels off the actual last four numbers of my card!!!!)
Tunnel:  Whoa, wait a minute, if I had a Visa, why in the would I tell you the last four numbers, and if I didn't tell you them, who would give you that kind of information?
Woman:  Well if you'll just give me second to explain (real snide) I'll....
Tunnel:  This conversation is over.  Bye. 

That call just felt really weird and so I immediately called my bank and had them freeze the card and issue a new one.  All is good on that front.

Now, I have a new friend (could be the same company as before) in Georgia who is autodialing me a minimum of four times a day.  The first time I picked it up, again, we go with the trying to establish my first name and they call me by first name as soon as i pick up the phone.  I merely respond with , "Who is this?" and this time I heard something mumbled about "Buyer's Edge" or something like that...and then I said, "Do Not Call me, take this number off ...and then he hangs up on me.  Now the thing is calling me every few hours or so and whenever I answer they hang up.  This is driving me nuts.  It doesn't matter if the machine gets it or I pick up, I'm getting hung up on, but I have had a total of three very short conversations and it always ends with them hanging up on me as soon as I push the "who is this?" question.

I have a complete call log though...because I have Vonage, I'll have to dig it up and compare the numbers, etc.  Dates, times, length of call, etc.  After some deep digging on the net, I finally found out who these clowns are, well, at least their name, address, owner, etc.  They're showing up on caller id with a number and name, but when I call the number back, all I get is incessant ringing, no answer.

The Better Business Bureau lists their category as "Newspaper Subscriptions"....I don't think so!  And btw, they have a few unresolved complaints.

Do I start recording these, and if so, would I have actionable violation under the TCPA?...cause they are not showing any signs of stopping the calls anytime soon.

-Tunnel Light



One of two things is happening ...

the call is simply being abandoned ... because the predicitive dialer "predicts" when an operator will be available and dials the number ....  and it's getting it's "predictions" wrong ..

there are limits on how often they can "abandon" calls .. there are also limits on the time between the answer and being connected with an operator ..

keep records ... and look up the statute .. (or wait our resident expert .. usofa .. to chime in) ... they are likely in violation ..


the other alternative is that they are getting a warning on the computer screen that you have asked not to be called ... so they hang up as soon as they see it ..


despite any claims ... and they will make them ... of some kind of grace period which allows them time to remove your number .. there is none ..   if you ask not to be called again ... they cannot call again ...

AT&T got nailed for this .. one case where another call was made to a consumer within minutes of thier request not to be called was specifically included in the forfieture rulings ... making this issue crystal clear ...


there is NO grace period for them to remove your number ...
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why are we requesting validation instead of disputing???  Why Why Why

 

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