TCPA Penalties List Round Up: Causes and Consequences
TCPA compliance isn’t just good business sense…
It’s good financial sense, too.
Due to statute and regulation ambiguities, call centers nationwide are frequently hit with steep TCPA penalties..
And there are numerous examples of this happening (which we’ll get into later).
Before we get into that, we want to take a stroll through the TCPA lawsuits landscape ranging from customers to federal agencies.
TCPA Penalties from Private Suits
The TCPA doesn’t mince words when it comes to the penalties call centers can incur by violating its mandates.
According to the section titled Private Right of Action, a consumer is entitled “to receive $500 in damages for each such violation.”
It goes on to say that “If the court finds that the defendant willfully or knowingly violated this subsection or the regulations prescribed under this subsection, the court may, in its discretion, increase the amount of the award to an amount equal to not more than 3 times the amount available under subparagraph (B) of this paragraph.”
In layman’s terms, this means call centers could owe between $500 and $1,500 per violation.
That’s a hefty sum – (how many calls do your agents make each day?)
So every illegal call or text made could cost call centers thousands of dollars in TCPA penalties.
This is a unique arrangement in civil lawsuits.
Usually, the plaintiff sues a company or person for the exact amount of money they lost due to the defendant’s actions.
If a customer slips and falls on the floor of a convenience store and gets a concussion, and the customer can show that they fell because of negligence on the fault of the store owner, they would sue the owner for the exact amount of money for their medical costs and any additional costs.
But the “statutory damages” set by the TCPA are established by federal law. So that’s the number that will always be used in court against call centers.
This is especially painful in class action lawsuits.
If call centers are illegally dialing hundreds of people a day, it only takes one customer to file a massive suit on behalf of everyone else the call center called. That would leave call centers on the hook for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
All the more reason for the top brass and managers to maintain TCPA compliance.
With that said, consumers lawsuits aren’t the only ones call centers are in danger of…
TCPA Penalties from Federal Agencies
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) both enforce TCPA.
And they’ll go after call centers for much more than a few thousand dollars.
FCC fined the “Travel Club Parties” $2.96 million for making robocalls that violated the TCPA. They issued a forfeiture order that details these fines.
Making 185 robocalls to the cellphones and telephone lines of 142 consumers, many of whom placed their number on the national Do Not Call (DNC) registry.
The FTC is especially concerned with the DNC registry.
They receive roughly 200,000 complaints EVERY DAY from consumers who are being called even though their number is on the DNC registry.
That means a lot of callers are not following TCPA protocols.
But the FTC can’t sue everyone. They’ve sued around 134 companies and telemarketers. There are probably more that we’re unaware of.
The average monetary penalty is $413,200 and the average defendant receives around $590,000.
Real Cases of TCPA Penalties
OK, so let’s take at two more real-world cases of TCPA violations.
Let’s start with Dish Network.
The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the FTC, sued Dish Network and won.
They found Dish liable for millions of calls made by third-party vendors. The court said, “Dish’s reckless decision to use anyone with a call center without any vetting or meaningful supervision demonstrates a disregard for the consuming public.”
How much did Dish have to pay?
$280 million in damages and penalties. $168 million was awarded to the federal government, making it the largest civil penalty ever obtain for violating the FTC.
The court also forced Dish to hire compliance experts to ensure TCPA compliance going forward.
Next, Domino’s Pizza.
Domino’s was sued in a class action lawsuit brought forward by the residents of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
The details of the case came out to this:
- Approximately $6,000,000+ in cash awards and free pizza vouchers to people involved in the suit who submitted “valid” claims.
- $3,000,000 in attorney fees.
- $5,000 to the representative class member.
- And the rest of the total to court administration costs along with the costs associated with notifying customers of the settlement.
How much in total did Domino’s pay?
Around $9.7 million.
And there are so many more cases just like this highlighting the danger of making any calls without being TCPA compliant.
It really rests on the shoulders of managers to make sure their call center keeps up-to-date with all the latest regulations, not just TCPA, to avoid these types of lawsuits and penalties.
But how can managers do that while running a busy call center?
The Manager’s Guide to Call Center Regulations
Inside this FREE guide, managers will discover:
- TCPA and FDCPA best practices.
- How to navigate recent regulatory changes.
- The possible implications for breaches.
And so much more.
Get a free copy of the Managers Guide to Call Center Regulations today!