News & Resources

Pizza company charged with violating TCPA

Dec 03, 2012 Philip Burgess

Every so often, the mistakes of one agent can put a debt collection company at risk for a lawsuit. As such, the managers of these businesses train their employees to abide by certain laws, like the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, local ordinances and other regulations that revolve around how workers can contact debtors and secure payments. While these are all orders that those in the industry have to abide by, from time to time a story emerges that involves the violation of such laws by entities in a different sector. Not only can the results of lawsuits lead to case law that recovery companies will have to abide by, but it can provide a lucrative training resource when teaching new agents how laws can be violated in various ways. Papa John's under scrutiny
Recently, pizza chain Papa John's was accused of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which dictates how individuals can be contacted on the phone, including through calls, voicemail and text messages, particularly when concerning automated dialing machines. Because this technology greatly helps speed up the recovery process, many collection agents use the tools and need to keep up with the developments of case law. According to insideARM, individuals, including those who did not opt in, received a large volume of texts in a short amount of time from the pizza makers, also referred to as "blasting." The source detailed that some were sent up to 16 messages in a row. Claiming that the TCPA had been violated, the plaintiffs are asking for $1,500 in restitution per text. "After I ordered from Papa John's, my telephone started beeping with text messages advertising pizza specials. Papa John's never asked permission to send me text message advertisements," an unidentified plaintiff said in a statement, according to the Atlantic Wire. What can collectors take from this?
Sometimes the easiest way to contact an alleged debtor is via his or her cellphone. As more and more people are turning toward the technology, some list their devices as the primary means of contact and others no longer invest in land lines at all. As such, it can save time and effort if a worker can simply shoot a quick text to an individual who owes money, asking for a call back to discuss an important financial matter. Per Papa John's example, agencies need to make sure they aren't blasting people. One text is sufficient and does not break the law - anything else should be communicated through a phone call.