Key Ruling in Multi-Account Debt Collection TCPA Case—Revocation on One Account Does Not Revoke Consent for Calls on Another Account

One of the most common tactics of TCPA consumer lawyers these days is to convince a would-be client—sometimes a consumer on the verge of BK—to respond to a debt collector’s phone calls by requesting that calls stop using unclear language and then to hang up before the collector can inquire further. Many times this occurs without the debtor informing the collector that an attorney has been retained. And when calls continue the debtor turns around and sues the collector claiming revocation under the TCPA.

While this tactic is problematic enough standing alone, it becomes downright terrible when the collector holds multiple accounts for the same debtor and is asked to cease calls during an interaction involving only one of several accounts. Indeed, sometimes the collector is asked to stop calls regarding one account and is only later assigned a wholly different debt to service, yet the consumer still sues contending that the purported revocation was effectuated before the debt being called about was ever assigned to the collector. Wild stuff.

Last year’s Central District of California ruling in Jara v. Gc Servs., Case No 2:17-cv-04598-ODW-RAO, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83522 (C.D. Cal. May 17, 2018) only added fuel to the fire when the Court held that an instruction by a consumer to cease calls on “my accounts”—plural—was sufficient to raise a jury question on the issue of revocation in TCPA suits involving the multi-account scenario. What a nightmare.

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