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Telemarketing and debt collection calls under the TCPA

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2023 | Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

It can be stressful to receive repeated phone calls from companies trying to get you to buy something or to collect money that you owe. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is a federal law intended to prevent harassment of private citizens by companies via telephone.

As a consumer, you have rights under TCPA, and if a company is violating those rights, you can seek recourse. However, according to Experian, the TCPA recognizes a distinction between telemarketing calls and debt collection calls.

Telemarketing calls

Telemarketing calls are those intended to convince you to buy certain goods or services. The TCPA does not prohibit all telemarketing calls, but it does restrict them to certain hours of the day. It is illegal for telemarketers to call you before 8:00 a.m. in your time zone or after 9:00 p.m.

A 2003 revision of the TCPA established a national Do-Not-Call registry. You can list any personal phone numbers, including residential and wireless numbers, on the registry, which restricts telemarketers’ ability to call you.

The TCPA prohibits prerecorded telemarketing or advertising calls to wired numbers and autodialed or prerecorded calls or texts to wireless numbers without prior written consent from you.

Collection calls

The Federal Communications Commission recognizes a difference between telemarketing calls meant to establish a new business relationship with you, or to renew an old one, and collection calls by companies with which you have had a business relationship, or their chosen surrogates, to collect money that you owe them.

A company that is making a collection call to a wired number does not have to receive written permission from you first unless the call also contains a telemarketing message. Collection calls to a wireless number still require you to give consent either orally or in writing because you assume the cost of the communication.

Some of the restrictions on telemarketing calls also apply to collection calls. For example, like telemarketers, debt collectors can only call you between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. in your time zone.