Recently, one of our clients received a hefty package of documents which threatened a federal lawsuit in the mid west for a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The documents threatened action under the TCPA for failure to maintain a proper Do Not Call list. The author of the letter, a self described “consumer rights advocate,” accused our client of violations of federal law for failure to place the author’s name on a Do Not Call list. Mr. Advocate offered a “generous” reduction on the amount of his claim to avoid the horrible costs of litigation in federal court in the mid west. He also offered to consult with our client for a charge to avoid further Do Not Call list claims.
When we looked into the matter we discovered that the TCPA authorized the Federal Communications Commission to adopt regulations which have come to be known as the “Do Not Call” regulations. These regulations allow consumers to place their names on Do Not Call lists for any business engaged in telemarketing. The definition of telemarketing under the Act is far broader than commonly understood. If any part of a business involves telephone contact with consumers for the purpose of soliciting business, the TCPA likely applies. Any business engaged in telemarketing, must maintain a “Do Not Call” policy which explains the rights of consumers to be placed on the list. A consumer who asks to be on the list has the right to verify compliance with the federal regulations. There are significant penalties for failure to follow the regulations.
For our client, we were not able to verify that there had been any contact with Mr. Advocate. We also could not locate any request to be placed on a Do Not Call list. We did verify that Mr. Advocate is all over the internet informing others how to make money off of federal legislation by baiting unsuspecting businesses into technical violations of federal law. Although we informed Mr. Advocate that he had no claim, we advised our client to implement a Do Not Call list and policy to avoid some other opportunist in the future.