Consent and revocation of consent are the mainstay issues in Telephone Consumer Protection Act litigation. On December 11, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia reminded litigants of the requirements to assert a claim under the TCPA.
In Oatman v. Augusta Collection Agency, plaintiff Junior Oatman sued collection company Augusta Collection Agency, Inc. under the TCPA and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for making calls about a debt that Oatman claims he did not owe. Oatman incurred a medical debt of $2,196 that subsequently was assigned to Augusta Collection.
The course of discovery revealed that Oatman provided his phone number directly to Augusta Collection during the first call between the parties. In granting Augusta Collection’s motion for summary judgment on the TCPA claim, the Court stated, “[p]ersons who knowingly release their phone numbers have in effect given their invitation or permission to be called at the number which they have given, absent instructions to the contrary.” (quoting Murphy v. DCI Biologicals Orlando, LLC.) Thus, Oatman’s act of providing his phone number is, in and of itself, express consent under the TCPA.
The Oatman decision serves as a refresher: on a collection call, express consent occurs when a consumer provides a phone number directly to a creditor or a collector.