The District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently held that making collection calls to the residential lines of non-debtors are exempt under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and that consumers must assume the burden of proof when asserting a claim under the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act. Tara Anderson claimed that the AFNI debt collection agency violated the TCPA by calling a residential telephone line using a prerecorded voice without consent or an established business relationship. Anderson - a victim of identity theft
- received 76 calls to her home after the agency had mistakenly identified her number as the number of a debtor by using skip tracing
techniques. AFNI claimed that all debt collection processes involve an established business relationship, making collection calls to non-debtors exempt under the act. According to Collections and Credit Risk
magazine, 953 cases representing more than 1,000 plaintiffs were filed in U.S. District Courts for alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act in March of this year.