OMG! Did you know the Telephone Consumer Protection Act Applies to Text Messages?

Many of us have, at one point or another, received an unsolicited call to our cell phones. Whether they come from debt collectors or telemarketers, they are annoying. Not only are these calls bothersome, but when the caller places them without consent, they are also illegal under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). What many people don’t realize, however, is that unsolicited text messages sent by creditors and solicitors alike are also violations of the TCPA.

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission cited Lyft, Uber’s chief competitor, for violating the TCPA by forcing users of its mobile feature to accept unsolicited text messages and robocalls (automated calls using an automatic dialing apparatus.) In fact, Lyft prevents its users from getting a ride unless they accept robocalls and text messages offering other services.

Lyft attempted to cure this issue by allowing its users to opt out of receiving such calls and texts to cell phones. However, unsubscribing from such marketing calls and texts actually prevents customers from using Lyft’s services.

You can view the full citation here.

First National Bank was also cited for the same violation. Like Lyft, First National Bank required its customers to accept robocalls and text messages as a precursor for using its services. Both companies are subject to legal action including, but not limited to, fines if these violations are not remedied.

While some consumers choose to ignore such calls and texts to their cell phones, they are a real nuisance to many mobile subscribers. Those without the luxury of unlimited calling and messaging data packages are in danger of incurring unwanted fees from such disturbances. Consumers are urged to track all unsolicited texts and calls, especially those after verbal revocation of consent have been provided to companies committing these violations.

Atlas Consumer Law has decades of experience assisting clients with their legal needs. Please contact the Chicago consumer protection lawyers from our firm for more information on how we can help you: (312) 313-1613.

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