The federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) restricts telemarketing and the use of automated telephone equipment, and limits the use of automatic dialing systems and prerecorded voice messages, text messages, and faxes. The statute touches on virtually every industry, and poses a growing threat to any company that uses cell phone texts and calls, as well as faxed messages, to communicate with consumers. Enacted in 1991, the TCPA has recently been reinvigorated by the prevalence and rapid evolution of digital communications.
Lawsuits, including high-exposure class actions, arising from alleged TCPA violations are complex and increasingly attractive to plaintiffs’ attorneys. Unlike many consumer protection statutes, the TCPA places virtually no limit on recoverable damages. It imposes strict statutory penalties of $500 per negligent violation and up to $1,500 per willful or knowing violation, even absent actual injury. Additionally, the statute’s four-year statute of limitations can translate to large nationwide class sizes.
Companies struggle to keep up with technological and legal developments in this rapidly evolving and unsettled area of the law. The TCPA has been inconsistently applied by courts across the country, and subject to changing regulations and interpretations by the Federal Communications Commission, including, most recently, new rules regarding the meaning of prior consent to receive communications, and agency liability.
We defend corporate clients, including financial services and telecommunications firms, against individual and class action lawsuits arising from alleged violations of the TCPA. Our extensive national experience encompasses TCPA cases stemming from calls to cellular telephones, text messages, and faxes. The firm’s TCPA team also regularly handles cutting edge appellate issues in TCPA litigation.
The firm’s TCPA team also advises on compliance with the federal statute, its evolving implementing regulations, and related rules and regulations including the Telemarketing Sales Rule, federal and state do-not-call registries, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and state statutes, such as the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act regarding call center recordings.
Ultimately, our efforts help our clients achieve their marketing, advertising, and promotional goals while complying with the highly-complex laws that are increasingly being used against them in the digital age.