General Motors Accused Of Using Prerecorded Calls To Collect Debt; TCPA Lawsuit Filed
General Motors is the subject of a new lawsuit that charged the company with violating TCPA laws in a lawsuit filed in federal court on February 22.
According to the complaint, the automaker sent around 39 prerecorded messages to the plaintiff that meant to collect the remaining balance of the plaintiff’s debt for a totaled car.
Michelle Sanchez, the plaintiff, said that the company never secured her permission, nor did she explicitly agree to receive these prerecorded calls.
Sanchez claimed that the calls were in direct violation of TCPA and California debt collection laws.
The lawsuit is filed as a regular lawsuit but has the potential of a class action lawsuit.
Read more about the case under the name: Sanchez v. General Motors Financial Company, Inc., Case No. 4:21-cv-01241, N.D. CA.
What The Lawsuit Is All About
In 2019, the plaintiff purchased a vehicle that she financed from General Motors. Shortly after, her vehicle was totaled in an accident.
Her balance with General Motors for her vehicle was not covered by the insurance payout, at which point she was no longer making any more payments.
At which point, Sanchez requested General Motors, in writing, that they cease contacting the plaintiff on her cellphone.
However, Sanchez continued to receive harassing phone calls and debt collection letters from General Motors.
For this reason, Sanchez sought legal remedy and filed a lawsuit against General Motors for violations of the TCPA and California debt collection laws.
The plaintiff retained a lawyer in 2020 to help her with her debt and get financial relief.
What The TCPA Covers And Other Laws Applicable To The Case
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) restricts companies and businesses from making telemarketing calls and using automatic telephone dialing systems and artificial or prerecorded voice messages in contacting consumers for purposes of sales and debt collection.
According to the TCPA, telemarketers and businesses are not allowed to:
- Call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Call if you have chosen to opt-out of calls from them or if you have added your name to the Do-Not-Call List or Registry.
- Send unsolicited fax messages to either your home or office.
- Refuse to give the consumer their name, the person or organization’s name on whose behalf they are calling, and the person or organization’s contact information.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revised its TCPA rules in 2012 to add that telemarketers and businesses must:
- get prior express written consent from consumers before robocalling
- not use an “established business relationship” as an excuse to get around obtaining consent from consumers in calling their home phones
- present consumers with an automated, interactive “opt-out” mechanism during each robocall that will allow consumers to request for the calls to stop immediately
Debt collectors are also not allowed to make robocalls to consumers on their phones for purposes of collecting debt unless the consumer has specifically given their permission.
Aside from this, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) also protects consumers from harassing debt collectors that call consumers and stress them out.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are not allowed to use abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect the debt from consumers.
This covers personal, family, and household debts and includes:
- Debts from a personal credit card account.
- An auto loan.
- A medical bill.
- Even a mortgage.
This, however, does not include debts incurred to run a business.
Just as it is stipulated in the TCPA, debt collectors hired by companies and businesses are not allowed to contact consumers at inconvenient times or places unless the consumer agrees or gives consent.
They are also not allowed to call consumers at work if they expressly communicate not to do so.
The FDCPA gives relief to consumers by allowing them to request debt collectors to stop contacting them in writing.
Once the collector receives your written request to stop calling you, they are no longer allowed to contact you again unless it is to tell you that you will no longer be contacted or to tell you of further action that they or the creditor is intending to take.
If a consumer also has hired an attorney to represent him/her, the debt collector must no longer contact you and should direct any form of contact to the attorney.
According to the lawsuit, General Motors has violated the TCPA and California laws on debt collection.
The plaintiff is seeking to stop the automaker from making unwanted calls and seeking relief with fines totaling $2,500 per unwanted call.
A full copy of the General Motors Pre-Recorded Debt Collection Calls TCPA Lawsuit can be found at Case No. 4:21-cv-01241, N.D. CA.
Editor’s Note on General Motors TCPA Lawsuit:
This piece is written about the recent General Motors TCPA Lawsuit for prerecorded debt collection calls.
If you believe that what is alleged in the General Motors Pre-Recorded Debt Collection Calls TCPA lawsuit has affected you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
We’d be happy to help you take a step in the right direction, fight this issue, and better enable you to join the consumer class action.
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