Telephone Consumer Protection Act Express Consent Narrowed Again

Albert Nigro just wanted to turn off his deceased mother-in-law’s electricity. He called the electric company, but it required that he provide his mobile telephone number to disconnect service. It turned out though that the mother-in-law had an outstanding bill of $68. Nigro did not know about that when he gave his number. He was not legally required to pay it.

The electric company hired a debt collector to recover the $68 owing on the mother-in-law’s account. The debt collector placed 72 autodial calls over the course of nine months to Nigro. In each call, the message asked for the mother-in-law. Eventually, Nigro had enough. He sued under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. He argued that while he had voluntarily given his number in connection with disconnecting his mother-in-law’s service, he had not given consent for calls about an outstanding debt. The debt collector argued, based on prior Federal Communications Commission rulings, that providing a phone number to a business permitted the business to call it. Continue reading this entry

Client Alert: Ademi & O’Reilly Enter the TCPA Fray

Serial class action filers Ademi & O’Reilly have filed four Telephone Consumer Protection Act cases in Wisconsin in the past week. Is Wisconsin about to become the next hotbed of TCPA litigation? Maybe. For more than two years, Ademi & O’Reilly have filed class action lawsuits concerning the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act nearly every day. If this is the start of a trend, pay attention as we may see over 100 Wisconsin TCPA cases in the next year. As always make sure your TCPA compliance procedures are up-to-date. Contact any of our TCPA lawyers should you have questions.

Only 28 Days Left to Submit Comments Regarding the CFPB’s Proposed Modifications to Home Mortgage Disclosure (Regulation C)

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) has published for public comment, a proposed rule amending Regulation C to implement amendments to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). The HMDA requires certain financial institutions to collect and report information in connection with housing-related loans and loan applications. The amendments made by the Dodd- Frank Act expanded the scope of information relating to mortgage applications and loans that must be compiled, maintained, and reported pursuant to HMDA. The CFPB proposes to amend Regulation C to add several new reporting requirements and seeks to clarify existing requirements. The general categories of the proposed modifications are as follows: Continue reading this entry

Mais Reversed: If You Give Me Your Number, I Can Call It, However I Want

“If you give me your number, I can call it, however I want.” For more than twenty years this statement has summarized the Federal Communications Commission view of prior express consent under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. On September 29, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit vindicated that view by overruling an outlier federal district court decision which caused trepidation among businesses using automatic telephone dialing system to reach customers.

Here is a reminder of the facts of Mais v. Gulf Coast Collection Bureau: In 2009, Mark Mais went to the Westside Regional Hospital emergency room in Broward County, Florida for treatment. His wife Laura completed the admission paperwork and provided his cell phone number to the hospital admitting staff. Florida United Radiology provided services for Mais that day. It later sent Mais a bill for $49.03. Mais did not pay. His debt was referred to the Gulf Coast Collection Agency. Gulf Coast uses an automatic telephone system to call debtors. It called Mais somewhere between 15 and 30 times with an automatic telephone dialing system in an effort to collect. Continue reading this entry