Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 consumers are protected from telemarketing communications from entities trying to sell their products or services. The Act restricts the way businesses advertise over the phone, whether by placing phone calls to private numbers or sending text messages and/ or faxes. The TCPA applies to just about every type of company, but recently, healthcare providers have been extended certain liberties.
WHAT DOES THE TCPA RESTRICT?
In general, the TCPA prohibits telemarketing calls to personal phone numbers without the consent of the person receiving such calls. The Act strictly prohibits placing robocalls to consumers using autodialing systems. Solicitation is not acceptable unless the recipient of such calls has “an existing business relationship” with the caller and has given his or her consent to receive communications.
- “Exigent healthcare treatment”: this exception allows urgent calls that carry a healthcare treatment message and are not charged to the person receiving them.
- “Telemarketing healthcare”: this exception allows calls that deliver a healthcare message from entities covered by HIPPA and their business associates.
Examples of exempted calls include prerecorded reminders about upcoming appointments, prescription refills, checkups, and more.
For the above exceptions, no written consent is needed. Under the TCPA’s new rules, a consumer who provides a healthcare entity with his phone number has given consent to receive non-telemarketing calls. Though it seems as if healthcare providers are getting a free pass, there are many restrictions on the nature of these calls.
Despite these new protections, healthcare companies must be very careful to ensure they are following the rules. Several requirements must be met for healthcare calls to comply with the TCPA. The length of the calls, the content of the calls, the number of messages left per day and who receives the calls are all highly regulated. It is in their best interest to comply, considering statutory damages per TCPA violation start at $500 and can be as high as $1500 per call or text message.
In short, you can most certainly sue a healthcare provider so long as the entity is not complying with the restrictions placed by the TCPA. If you are unsure whether you are receiving illegal communications to your cell phone or landline, contact The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi. Jibrael and his team of Fort Lauderdale TCPA attorneys are dedicated to upholding the rights of those targeted for harassment. Each call or text message can bring $500 to $1500. You do not pay one cent until Jibrael and his team win for you!