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Needed Consent for Auto-Dialing or Pre-Recorded Messages

Unsolicited calls and texts to cell phones using auto-dialers or pre-recorded messages must comply with certain restrictions.  Businesses need the consumer’s prior express consent to use an auto-dialer and/or a pre-recorded message to place an informational call or send a text to a cell phone.  This consent can be oral or in writing, or can be implied if a consumer has provided a cell phone number voluntarily in connection with the purchase of a product/service.  A stricter rule applies to marketing calls/texts:  when using an auto-dialer/pre-recorded message to sell products or services, a business must obtain prior express written consent, using specific language set out in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Violations of the TCPA can result in damages of at least $500 per call/text.  Beware that TCPA claims are commonly brought as class actions.