ACA Publishes Report Emphasizing the Unintentional Repercussions of the TCPA as it Fails to Adjust to Consumer Usage of Today’s Technological Innovations
ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, published a report, Unintended Consequences of an Outdated Statute: How the TCPA Fails to Keep Pace with Shifting Consumer Trends, which looks at the way the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) obsolete idea of modern technology ends up with certain consumers getting an excessive amount of phone calls while other consumers are practically omitted from getting genuine business messages. TCPA litigation stats have also been updated in the report.
ACA International’s CEO, Pat Morris stated that the long-held view of the ACA is that the TCPA has not succeeded in adapting to today’s communications technology and changing preferences of the consumer. This failure has resulted in an explosion of TCPA lawsuits of genuine businesses and the report shows that unintentional results are that customers who only have wireless phones don’t get the important info and there is more incentive to call consumers who still have landlines.
According to statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics, 50.8% (now a majority) of American homes have wireless phones only as of December 2016. In other words, most Americans don’t have a land line and only use wireless devices for communication. There is also a big age gap between the groups who have wireless-only phones compared to those who still have a landline. For instance, in the 25-29 age group, 72.7% live in a household that is wireless-only. On the other hand, 23.5% of those age 65 and older live in a household that is wireless-only.
Furthermore, for individuals 65 years and older, 76.5% of them live in a household with a landline. Due to these significant discrepancies in wireless-only residences across age ranges, attempted conformity with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) broad understanding of the TCPA will probably lead to specific consumers getting an excessive amount of business-related telephone calls while various other groups of the consumer population are in essence omitted. This is a problem if a company wants to avoid potential TCPA liability and only contact customers with a landline, they will probably mostly get in contact with consumers who are 65 years or older.
As outlined in an earlier report, The Imperative to Modernize the TCPA: Why an Outdated Law Hurts Consumers and Encourages Abusive Lawsuits, ACA discovered that TCPA lawsuits are turning into a cottage industry where lawyer fees averaged $2.4 million in 2014 for a TCPA class action settlement. There has also been a yearly rise in TCPA lawsuits. From 2010 to 2015, stats for 2015 showed that there was a 948% increase in TCPA lawsuits.
A new ACA report from 2016 showed that there was an even more dramatic increase in TCPA litigation. There was a 1,273% increase in litigants from 2010 to 2016; from 2015 to 2016 there was a 32% increase in the number of litigants.
With this evidence, the ACA is putting forth the case that modernizing the TCPA will guarantee that consumers are not missing out on normal, desired and expected information; will give businesses a clear way to target specific customers with beneficial communication; and minimize the number of lawsuits that tie up the courts so they can deal with those who are victims of real abuse and harassment.
The research initiative of ACA International is focused on gathering more original statistics about the credit and collection sector. This exclusive analysis and research has the ultimate goal of continuing to quantify how debt collectors assist consumers as well as the economy in general.
Marcadis Singer, PA are debt collection attorneys in Florida. Our staff is thoroughly trained on the implications of the TCPA, and conform to the guidelines set forth therein.