Legal Articles

Anatomy of a toxic statute

Five simple ingredients that transformed a consumer protection statute into a multimillion-dollar litigation industry.

What Makes the TCPA so Toxic?

Content Neutrality

Not Limited to Telemarketing

The TCPA does not address the substance of a communication- it only restricts the manner in which it is sent. This means that any company using an automated telephone dialing system runs the risk of a TCPA violation with every call or text, regardless of purpose.

Private Right of Action

Plaintiffs Enforce the Law

Any consumer can file a lawsuit for up to $1,500 per call or text in any state or federal court. It also allows attorneys to represent large groups of consumers, turning a $1,500 small claims case into a multimillion dollar federal class action.

Strict Liability

No Excuses

Like speeding, the TCPA is a strict liability statute, meaning there are no defenses or excuses for even the slightest violation- including those caused by honest mistakes, technical errors, or third-party fraud.

Vicarious Liability

Paying for Someone Else's Mistake

One company can be held liable for the violations of another, even if it was acting without the company's knowledge. This makes it cost-effective for class action attorneys to file class actions against small call centers and lead generation companies in order to sue their customers.

Statute of Limitations

Four Years

The TCPA has a four-year statute of limitations- most companies fail to keep a detailed opt-in record for every single call or text for that long; a fact that plaintiffs know all too well.