Most people over the age of 35 remember phones often ringing during dinner with calls from telemarketers. The timing of those calls made sense, as people were most likely to be home then. In 1991, Congress sought to curtail those interruptions by passing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which regulates how and when businesses can initiate marketing calls, texts and faxes. A key feature of the TCPA was the creation of a private right of action that allows consumers to recover statutory damages of $500 for each violation (that is, per call, text or fax) or $1,500 for each violation if the court determines the defendant willfully or knowingly violated the statute.
Technological developments now make it possible for businesses to make thousands of calls and send tens of thousands of texts per day. With uncapped statutory penalties of up to $1,500 per violation, defendants in TCPA cases are exposed to eye-popping potential judgments. A thriving TCPA class action industry now exists where even the largest of businesses find themselves defending bet-the-company lawsuits.