Posts Tagged: ‘Telephone Consumer Protection Act’

Why Are Robocalls Getting Worse?

June 7, 2018 Posted by kingcade

For any person with a phone, it seems like robocalls are becoming more frequent and more annoying. Despite the creation of the “No-Call” lists offered by many states, these calls have persisted. In response to this increase in calls, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), through its Chairman Ajit Pai, has recently announced that ending illegal use of robocalls is a priority of the FCC.

In March 2018, Ajit made an announcement that the FCC issued over $200 million in fines for these harassing calls made in the previous year. The problem is these phone calls have continued to happen regardless of these fines. In fact, according to the screening service, YouMail, approximately 3.4 billion automated calls were made in April 2018, which was up 900 million per month compared to the prior year.

In November 2017, the FCC issued new regulations which allowed phone companies to block calls from invalid numbers or to show evidence of what is referred to as “spoofing.” Spoofing involves the caller tricking caller ID into hiding his or her identity. The FCC has also issued a proposal in March 2018 which will create a database of reassigned numbers so that business do not continue to call the wrong people.

Currently, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulates robocalls. The law dictates that autodialers must have the prior consent of consumers to contact them, and that consumers have the right to officially opt out of the robocalls. If a company continues to make calls despite the consumer opting out, they are doing this illegally.

Not all robocalls are illegal. Some can be used as a way to remind the caller about an upcoming appointment, flight cancellation or emergency notification. Also, sometimes these calls are also a way to try to collect on a valid debt. The problem becomes when the calls become excessive or even harassing.

The FCC has recently fined a Miami man, Adrian Abramovich, $120 million for 96 million robocalls he was accused of making in one month. The FCC has been accused of sending mixed signals when these robocalls come from “legitimate” businesses.

Student loan company, Navient, has received 599 “communication tactics” complaints that were submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). One of the complaints stated that the company called one person more than 12 times a day, including contacting the individual’s past coworkers, friends and family. The complaint also stated that the company called the same number 14 times in a 30-minute time period.

In response, Navient, along with other businesses, have petitioned the FCC to allow them to be exempted from the number of calls they can make to a consumer. These petitions are currently pending. These companies argue that if an existing relationship is already there, then the consent requirements should not be as strict. Further, they say that the exemption should apply to cellphones, as well as landlines.

In March 2018, a federal appeals court rolled back a decision made under the FCC during the Obama administration which prohibited debt collectors from using auto dialers to reach cell phone numbers. In that past decision, the definition of an “auto dialer” was broadened. However, the recent legal decision ruled that the definition given was too broad. Now experts are waiting to see how this narrower definition will affect current regulations.  It is also now up to the FCC to write a new definition if they wish to clarify what exactly an auto dialer is under the law. If the FCC chooses to make the definition narrower, experts worry that this will leave consumers not protected from excessive and unwanted robocalls.

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If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

The High-Tech Methods Debt Collectors are using to Find you- and Your Money

May 3, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Debt collectors are using some new high-tech tactics to collect and track down consumers. New software is allowing debt collectors to insert voicemails into phones by the thousands without a single ring, bypassing regulations that restrict how often they can call consumers.

Ringless Voicemails

Companies such as Stratics Networks maintain that because no phone calls are made, regulations prohibiting auto-dialed collection calls do not apply.  But consumer protection attorneys disagree, arguing that just because the phone does not ring, does not mean it’s not a call.  The Telephone Consumer Protection Act forbids debt collectors from harassing consumers.

Avatars

Animated cartoon characters show up in borrowers’ inboxes and smooth-talk borrowers into paying up. Collections managers design personalities of avatars, who speak multiple languages and weigh debtors’ credit scores when negotiating payment.

Speech Analytics

Advanced language-recognition programs not only track keywords during a conversation but identify the emotion of the borrower.  Cursing out a debt collector?  Prompts generated by CallMiner Inc. software help steer conversations back on track.

Supervisors using the speech-analytics company’s system see color-coded boxes on call-center computer monitors. Small green boxes represent routine conversations. During those calls, agents are reminded to recite mandatory “mini-Miranda” statements that inform consumers of their rights.  But a box turns red and expands when a call contains expletives or long silences.

Skip Tracing, Spoofing and Scrubbing

In a practice called skip tracing, collection agencies search databases to find borrowers who have skipped out on paying their debts.  Some collectors track debtors on Facebook and other social media sites. A Texas agency is linking Social Security numbers to social media accounts, raising privacy concerns. Another tactic known as spoofing, debt collectors insert local area codes in caller-ID displays, enticing the person being called to answer the phone. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing to ban the practice.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Woman Alleges SunTrust Bank Invaded Privacy with Collection Calls

March 13, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Patricia Fonnegra, a Florida resident, filed a complaint on March 7th in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against SunTrust Bank. Fonnegra stated in the complaint that the debt collector was in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act with frequent calls. The TCPA was enacted to protect consumers from “robocalling” and regulate telephone practices.

Fonnegra claimed that she suffered damages in 2016 after receiving multiple collection calls from the defendant. In the complaint, the plaintiff holds SunTrust Bank responsible because the defendant allegedly invaded her privacy and harassed her with frequent calls.

Fonnegra requested a trial by jury and seeks statutory damages of $1,500, enjoin the defendant, all legal fees and any other relief as the court deems just.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

http://flarecord.com/stories/511088056-woman-alleges-suntrust-bank-invaded-privacy-with-collection-calls

http://www.natlawreview.com/article/fcc-approves-new-tcpa-rules-telephone-consumer-protection-act

Lawmakers Fight to Close Robocall Debt Collection Loophole

March 9, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Federal lawmakers are attempting to close a recently opened loophole that allows the federal government to automate unwanted, even incorrect debt collection calls to consumers.  This all started in late 2015, when an addition to a budget bill amended the existing telecommunications law allowing robocalls “made solely to collect a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States.”

Sen. Ed Markey (MA) is attempting to put an end to this with the HANGUP Act of 2017, which would close the debt-collection loophole opened by the 2015 budget bill.

The proposed legislation goes a step further,“walking back” the FCC’s July 2016 “Broadnet” decision, in which the Commission ruled that anyone in the federal government, including contractors, could send out robocalls, so long as the automated calls explicitly involve government business.

Senator Markey argues that the intention of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which limits the use of robocalls, is clear: “consumers should not be subject to unwanted robocalls and robotexts on their phones. But recent carveouts by Congress and the FCC allow government contractors to robocall and robotext consumers without their affirmative express consent…No one wants to be interrupted during family mealtime or when helping children with homework.”

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

You can sue over Robocalls- Know your rights when it comes to Collection Calls

July 12, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Debt collectors have the right to contact you, but they do not have the right to harass you.  Recently, a woman received robocalls from the same business four or five times a day, all hours of the day and night, even on holidays- including Christmas day! She received a total of 800 robocalls in a year and a half period.  After repeatedly telling the company to stop contacting her, she took legal recourse.  The woman had suffered complications from bypass surgery and had fallen behind on her car payments.

The unwanted calls are in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the number one complaint to the FCC.  Consumers have the right to sue and can be awarded up to $1,500 for every call that does not fall within these guidelines.

Here are five illegal tactics that unethical debt collectors use:

  • Harassment. Relentless calling, 4-5 times a day falls into this category.
  • Timing. Debt collectors must limit their calls between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekends and weekdays.
  • Pretending to be someone else. Debt collectors always have to identify themselves and who they work for.
  • Making threats. It is illegal to make threats to get you to pay. The debt collector cannot threaten physical harm, jail-time or let your neighbors know about an outstanding debt.
  • Contacting third parties. It is illegal for a debt collector to contact employers, neighbors or leave messages with anyone regarding your debt.

Know your rights as a consumer.  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was designed to help prevent creditor abuse and harassment.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.