Collector - September 2016 - (Page 10)

FYI $2.4 M TCPA CLASS-ACTIONS BY INDUSTRY $4.12 3% 3% CONSTRUCTION 3% HOSPITALITY/TRAVEL 5% POLITICAL EDUCATION SOCIAL MEDIA/ TECHNOLOGY 26% COMMUNICATIONS/ UTILITIES 10% Average attorneys' fees for a TCPA class-action settlement. Average individual consumer award for a TCPA class-action settlement. NATIONAL RETAILERS 13% HEALTHCARE/ FITNESS FINANCIAL 13% 24% The Consequences of an Outdated Law Research shows that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act is not living up to its name. I n the 25 years since the enactment of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, plaintiff's attorneys and federal regulators have manipulated the original intent of the law, transforming it from a statute that protects valuable consumer communication with businesses into a tool for frivolous lawsuits. In its recent white paper, The Imperative to Modernize the TCPA: Why an Outdated Law Hurts Consumers and Encourages Abusive Lawsuits, ACA International explained why the TCPA must be modernized to help consumers and allow legitimate businesses to communicate with these consumers effectively. "To function as an effective consumerprotection measure, the TCPA must be reformed to more accurately reflect the current state of communication technology in addition to the ways both businesses and consumers use those technologies," wrote ACA's Director of Research Josh Adams, Ph.D., in the white paper. The number of TCPA-related lawsuits skyrocketed 948 percent from 2010 to 2015. Damages in a TCPA lawsuit are set at $500 10 per unintentional violation and $1,500 per intentional violation. These damages add up quickly in class-action lawsuits and are part of the reason why TCPA litigation has increased so dramatically in the last five years. However, the outcome of these class-action lawsuits generally benefits plaintiff 's attorneys more than the consumers themselves. In 2014, the average attorneys' fees for a TCPA class-action settlement were $2.4 million, while the individual consumer received just $4.12. This stark disparity undermines the initial purpose of the TCPA, rendering it more a tool for attorney enrichment than consumer protection. Another reason for the proliferation of unnecessary TCPA lawsuits is that the statute has been increasingly applied across a diverse range of industries beyond telemarketing, including necessary informational calls from legitimate debt collection companies to consumers. Debt collection professionals, as well as legitimate businesses across a wide scope of industries, must be able to send vital, nonsolicitous communications to consumers in the way they want to be contacted. "This problem has been exacerbated by the Federal Communications Commission, the agency responsible for implementing the TCPA, whose broad interpretation of the statute has failed to provide a pathway to compliance for businesses using modern communications," Adams wrote. To solve these problems with the TCPA, ACA advocates that the law must be clarified to allow for the use of modern communication technology to reach consumers in the modern marketplace. Specifically, the FCC must maintain the balance Congress contemplated in enacting the TCPA to protect consumer privacy interests without impeding legitimate business operations. "It is no wonder that there are so many businesses that rely on effective communication with their customers coming to together to call for TCPA reform," said ACA CEO Patrick J. Morris. "This includes credit agencies, universities, retailers, banks and utility companies. They all want relief from abuses of an outdated law." ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - September 2016

Upfront
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
5 Ways to Get Electronic Payments Right
Making the Connection
Curious About Amicus Curiae?
Calendar
Honor Roll
Small Talk
Know the Score
What Creditors Need to Know About the TCPA
ACA Industry Advancement Support Helps Secure Victory for Collection Industry in FDCPA Case
Compliance
ACA SearchPoint
Last Word

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