A person who is in debt, may experience multiple calls or more per day from a debt collector. Agencies attempting to collect payment commonly use auto dialers (or also known as “robo dialers”), to reach as many consumers as they can by cell phone. It is important for a consumer to know that robocalls from a debt collector may be illegal. Anyone who is flooded with calls, messages and voicemails from a robocall wanting payment, may want to seek legal assistance promptly.
What exactly is a robo dialer?
The definition of an auto dialer or robo dialer is quite broad, and entails computer software or equipment that has to ability to store phone numbers and make calls without human assistance. Debt collectors tend to be one of the biggest users of these auto dialing systems. The goal of a debt collection agency is to reach as many consumers as possible within a short amount of time who owe them money. An auto dialer has the capability to vastly outnumber the amount of people that a human operator could reach in that same period of time.
When are robocalls illegal?
It is not uncommon for robocalls to be made unlawfully. Any agency that wants to collect debts from a consumer, must obtain consent beforehand. Many consumers may get frustrated because they are receiving these calls despite not giving consent. Or, the consumer did in fact provide consent but did not realize they had done so. Consent is typically granted in a few ways, including the following:
- The consumer listed his/her cell phone number when filling out an account application
- The consumer updated his/her contact details and listed their cell number
- The consumer provided verbal consent to receive robocalls
A debt collection agency may be breaking the law if they obtained the consumer’s phone number in other ways besides directly from them, and keep sending robocalls despite the consumer requesting to not be contacted.
How do I know whether the call I received from a debt collector is a robocall?
Robocalls can be easy to identify, if you know what you are looking for. The main indication of a robocall, is when the message is pre recorded with a synthesized voice that sounds like a robot. Another sign is if the consumer hears only silence with no recording or message, then a sudden hanging up. Or, there may a long pause and mechanical sounds before being transferred to a debt collector.
When should I contact an attorney about robocalls?
If a debt collection agency has committed any of the potentially unlawful actions described above, then it may be time to meet with an attorney, like a debt collection lawyer in Tampa, FL. A consumer can quickly become burdened by these constant calls, and may eventually block numbers that were only debt collecting robots on the line. An attorney can offer advice on how to take action for these unrelenting robocalls. A consumer may even be entitled to receiving monetary compensation for every illegal call made on behalf of the debt collection agency.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, PL for their insight into debt collection.