It’s been two months since the Federal Communications Commission amended the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and in that time, the number of lawsuits filed against collection agencies has remained virtually the same as the period before the law was changed.
Was the industry overreacting to the expectation that there would be more lawsuits filed by consumers? The answer, according to a pair of leading defense attorneys is, not necessarily.
According to data supplied by WebRecon, the number of TCPA lawsuits filed against collection agencies has gone from 249 filed in June, the last full month before the FCC amended the law, to 256 in August, the first full month after the law was changed.
Donald Maurice, a principal in the law firm of Maurice Wutscher, said that he expects the lawsuit filing frequency to increase after the National Association of Consumer Advocates holds its annual Consumer Rights Litigation Conference in November.
“You’ll see an uptick after that,” Maurice said. Word will get out across listservs, forums, and newsletters and lawsuits will start “percolating,” he added.
Consumer attorneys may also be waiting to see how current cases currently before the courts are handled under the new law before moving forward with new cases, Maurice said.
“By the end of the year, we’ll have a better flavor for this,” he said.
Perhaps, just perhaps, there have not been more lawsuits because collection agencies have scaled back on the number of phone calls they are making, speculated Joann Needleman, practice leader at the law firm of Clark Hill.
“People are being more careful about making phone calls,” she said. “I think it will spike; it just hasn’t happened yet.”
The TCPA is a huge concern not just for the collections industry, but every industry, said Needleman. And there still are lawsuits that are being filed; just not as many as people had expected.
“Everyone is still frightened about this,” Needleman said.