The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is being considered for the effects it has had on consumers and businesses in the years it has been active.
The Act that came into being in 1991, has witnessed 25 years. In this time-span, there have been huge changes, including the different ways of communication.
While it has helped reduce abusive telemarketing practices, there are several ways in which the Act could better benefit the consumers it serves by a little more tuning into the developments of the modern times.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a hearing titled ‘The Telephone Consumer Protection Act at 25: Effects on Consumers and Business.’ The hearing witnessed a variety of perspectives on the statute, including testimony from a state Attorney General, the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management and the U.S. Chamber Institute of Legal Reform.
One of these included the opening remarks of the Committee Chair Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), “As a result of the TCPA, a number of abusive and disruptive telemarketing practices have been significantly reduced or eliminated,” he said. “But, TCPA is also showing its age, and there are opportunities to build on its consumer benefits while also ensuring consumers fully benefit from modern communications.”
With the vast time span that has passed since inception, technology has grown by leaps and bounds. This means that the ways in which people interact too has changed. Unless the Act adapts, the litigation that TCPA witnesses will likely not cease.
In his observation, Sen. Thune also feels that “TCPA litigation has also become a booming business”. TCPA cases are the second most filed type of case in federal courts, with 3,710 filed last year alone. That represents a 45 percent increase over 2014.”
Other witnesses at the hearing had their own views. But almost everyone agreed that unwanted calls remain a problem and to this end, the Act could work better with some amendments.
Ranking Member Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) called the TCPA “one of the preeminent and most loved consumer protection statutes we have.” He reiterated, “[O]utside this hearing room, outside the corporate boardrooms, outside the offices of defense counsel or debt collectors, the idea of allowing greater access for robocalls to consumers’ cell phones without their consent is an idea that is dead on arrival with the American people.”
Given the number of legislations that TCPA faces each year, it seems imperative that consumers should receive protection from unwanted telephone calls. However, with some amendments permitting debt collection calls made from automated equipment as well (when the debt is owned or guaranteed by the United States), TCPA has the potential to no longer protect those it set out to, initially.
In the time since its inception, this shift in perspective has become glaringly obvious and may one day change entirely. It is about finding the right solution, and one which not only benefits the consumers it set out to initially protect, but also safeguard genuine interests. Further, companies do have a choice in the matter: they can choose to adhere to the TCPA Act of 1991, or abuse their power and be penalized.
In the second case, consumers need not feel helpless. They do have the power to reach out for legal help and are well within their rights if they choose legal aid for events resulting out of non-compliance of TCPA.
Legal Rights Advocates, PLLC is a law firm that specializes in helping clients who are being harassed by debt collectors. Our team of attorneys, over the years, has helped countless clients get protections from debt collection practices that are deemed as unlawful and illegal under the FDCPA and TCPA laws.
If you are a consumer interested in learning more about how to safeguard yourself better with TCPA, call us at (855) 254-7841 for immediate assistance.