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Ohio Foreclosure Defense & Consumer Law > Blog > TCPA > Court Rules That A Single Voicemail Is Enough To Violate The Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Court Rules That A Single Voicemail Is Enough To Violate The Telephone Consumer Protection Act


The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) is a piece of legislation that regulates telephone solicitation. The law governs how telemarketers are allowed to interact with their customers. Violations of this law can result in severe penalties. Consumers may be able to file lawsuits against businesses that violate the law. In this article, the Columbus Telephone Consumer Protection Act attorneys at Kohl & Cook Law Firm, LLC will discuss a recent decision reached by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals concerning when a consumer may bring a lawsuit against a telemarketer.

One voicemail is enough to sue over illegal telephone solicitation 

According to a recent decision reached by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, a single voicemail left on a cellphone without permission is enough to allow a consumer to proceed with a class-action lawsuit alleging violations of the TCPA. The appellate panel reversed a District Court ruling that found the plaintiff lacked standing to file suit against Direct Energy LP because he suffered no concrete harm.

According to the plaintiff’s attorney, the ruling resolves a legal issue for TCPA plaintiffs on Article III standing and will allow the case to move forward. The plaintiffs are seeking a judgment for the over 2.5 million class members who were subjected to Direct Energy’s illegal prerecorded telemarketing calls.

Under the TCPA, a company can be charged $500 per call and up to $1,500 per “willful violation.” The plaintiffs are seeking damages in the range of $1.4 billion to $4.2 billion for violations of the TCPA.

According to the plaintiff, he received multiple ringless voicemails (known as RVMs) on his cell phone in November of 2017. RVM technology allows telemarketers to autodial phone numbers and deliver prerecorded voice messages without triggering the device’s ringer.

The TCPA bars automatic telephone calls to individuals who have not given the company permission to call. The plaintiff alleged that the pre-recorded messages were a nuisance and a violation of the TCPA. He filed suit against Direct Energy seeking class-action status to seek damages for the 2.5 million consumers who received pre-recorded voicemail messages.

The plaintiff alleged he received 11 RVMs from Direct Energy. Direct Energy insists that only one of those calls came from the company.

The U.S. District Court ruled that a single RVM was not enough “concrete harm” to give the plaintiff standing to file a lawsuit because the plaintiff was not charged for the call and the call did not tie up his phone. However, the plaintiff appealed, arguing that even one call was an “intrusion upon seclusion.” The appeals court agreed with the plaintiff and will allow the lawsuit to move forward.

Talk to a Telemarketing Violations Attorney Today 

If you have received annoying or harassing phone calls from companies attempting to solicit your business, give the TCPA violations attorneys at Kohl & Cook Law Firm, LLC a call today. We may be able to help you recover damages for your inconvenience and hold a company that violated the law accountable for its actions.



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