It can be difficult to tell if a debt collector or a telemarketer is calling from an ATDS.
Because sometimes it’s a human voice on the other end of the line.
From the Callers Perspective
Our law firm has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in TCPA cases. Moreover, when first talking to clients, some company heads will come to me and say something like:
“Well, we don’t use a robodialers, so we’re in the clear.”
“We don’t have a robovoice. So, we’re fine.”
Unfortunately, that’s not true.
It’s not the type of voice that defines the TCPA violation. It’s the type of machine or software you use to make the call.
Think about it:
If you are using a machine or computer screen that can dial 2,000 calls a day, that’s a violative machine if you don’t have the adequate prior express consent or had a revocation of such consent.
From the consumer’s side
Here’s a simple method you, the consumer, can identify an ATDS.
Has the same company been calling you twice a day, every day, for a month?
Then it’s fair to assume that they’re using some kind of machine or software that can dial thousands of calls per day.
I don’t think – and this is me speculating – that a person with a list and a rotary phone is going to go through their list once, then come back to the top of the list by the end of the day and then start again.
(Resulting in you getting a call from the same person twice or three times in a day.)
However, if you got a call once or twice a month from a live person, you might not have an ATDS situation.
Here’s another way to tell if you’re being robo-dialed:
Say you pick up the phone or listen to a voicemail and hear something like “Hello, my name is…” and it’s a robot or pre-recorded voice, then it’s clearly a robo-call or a pre-recorded voice.
I know that it sounds silly.
However, that’s a truly straightforward method of identifying a robodialer.
What to do if an ATDS calls you?
If you have already revoked consent to the caller or if you know for a fact that you have no contractual privity with a corporation – privity meaning that you’re in a contractual agreement – and they call you:
Then, your United States consumer rights have been violated, and…
…you are entitled to damages – from this very first call.
What are those damages? Like we mentioned before, they are $500 (Five hundred dollars) or up to $1500 (fifteen hundred dollars if it’s willful wanting) per call.
What do you do when your rights have been violated?
Come to an attorney.
The attorney will likely ask you to provide itemized information to prove when the calls were made, who made the calls, etc.
Next, the attorney will go through some more information about TCPA lawsuits with you, such as their duration, and explain that TCPA cases are filed in the federal courts.
Then, they will proceed with your case, like any other ordinary lawsuit.
How long does a TCPA case take?
Almost every one of my clients – plaintiffs or defense – that I represent asks how long TCPA cases take.
The judicial system is an imperfect system. Sometimes it gets backed up.
The good thing about TCPA cases is that they’re generally handled in a federal court, where you have the best of the best judges.
You can’t mess around there.
In the Federal Courts, we have to dot our i’s and cross our t’s and to make sure the case is progressing at a good pace.
The judges also do an outstanding job of keeping these cases moving along at an adequate pace.
All that being said:
Cases can take a year. They can even take two years, depending on the complexity and the size of the matter. For example, cases on an individual basis usually require less than, say class action classes basis. The number of documents, defendants, and plaintiffs involved all influence the length of a case.
Other factors include the judge, the time of year, and how many cases that judge may have on his or her docket.
It’s common knowledge that most cases today, 90%+, don’t go to trial, but instead are settled before the trial stage.
These are called “right for summary judgments”.
This usually means:
The issues involved are factual issues. Plus, there aren’t many factual issues involved in the case.
(The number of specific legal issues are something that can be determined by a judge before the case is reached.)
Because most cases are settled before getting to a jury, I would say actual case turn around times range anywhere from four months to two years.