Triple damages possible after judge rules against debt collector

Technology makes it possible for you to read this Philadelphia consumer protection blog post from anywhere in the world. Technology also makes it possible for debt collectors to pursue alleged debts with a relentlessness that was previously impossible.

A judge with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania recently signaled that one debt collector might have gone too far in efforts to collect an alleged debt. The judge ruled in favor of a man who has filed a lawsuit after a debt collector's automated dialing system called him 149 times.

One of the questions to be settled in the lawsuit is whether the debt collector's use of a predictive dialing system qualifies as a robo-calling system and whether the collector knowingly made use of an automatic dialer, even though robo-dialers are prohibited by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

The collector argues that the predictive dialer is not a banned automatic system because an employee has to press a button to start the process of making calls.

When a call is connected to the receiving party (rather than an answering machine or voice mail), a collections agent picks up the call and begins speaking.

The judge determined that the predictive calling system does, in fact, automatically make calls without human involvement, according to a media report.

The judge's ruling means the plaintiff can pursue triple damages in the case because of the TCPA violation.

A Philadelphia consumer protection attorney can assess your situation and help you pursue damages against abusive debt collectors.


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