CCS (aka Credit Control Services, Inc., Credit Collection Services, etc. ) has been getting tripped up on its illegal automated telephone dialing campaigns in courts in multiple states inasmuch as they represent clear and known (to them) violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). If you have been getting recorded calls from CCS placed on your cell phone, as i have, you may be able to sue them for thousands of dollars and/or get the FCC to crack down on their ongoing illegal practices (despite having been sued several times for knowingly violating the law).
First of all, CCS sometimes identifies itself as "Credit Collection Services" in its recorded calls, which apparently is not its legal name in at least one of the states in which it has been sued for violating the TCPA. The TCPA requires that debt collection companies disclose their legal name when making collection calls.
The primary problem, however, is that CCS is directing its robo-dialer at cell phone numbers, which can lead to costs per minute for the owners of each targeted cell phone account, a practice prohibited by the TCPA and associated regulations. See http://www.prweb.com/releases/AttorneysForConsumers/WeisbergandMeyers/prweb8530310.htm
for a brief and related explanation aimed at lay persons, of which I am one. A more recent and in depth explanation of the current state of the law and regulations is provided by a San Diego journalist in this article: http://sddt.com/Commentary/article.cfm?Commentary_ID=140&SourceCode=20110919tbc&_t=Businesses+behaving+badly
Because CCS has already been sued for this illegal practice, it opens itself up to treble damages ($1,500 per incident instead of $500) that are available when the perpetrator is aware that the practice is illegal. In fact, it was a case against none other than Credit Control Services, Inc. that was cited in a National Law Review article as an example of the bar being lowered to qualify for treble damages (see http://www.natlawreview.com/article/recent-court-ruling-lowers-threshold-obtaining-treble-statutory-damages-class-actions-brough
-- "Recent Court Ruling Lowers Threshold for Obtaining Treble Statutory Damages in Class Actions Brought Pursuant to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act," July 26,2010).
Here is how the court spelled out the conditions that put CCS on the hook for treble damages: While the TCPA does not define willful, the Communications Act of 1943, of which the TCPA is a part, defines willful as the conscious or deliberate commission or omission of such act, irrespective of any intent to violate any provision, rule or regulation. In Dubsky v. Advanced Cellular Communications, Inc., No. 2008 cv 00652, 2004 WL 503757, at * 2 (Ohio Com. Pl. Feb. 24, 2004), the court found that in the context of the TCPA, the term acting willfully means that the defendant acted voluntarily, and under its own free will, regardless of whether the defendant knew that it was acting in violation of the statute.
Lest there be any doubt that CCS has known for a good, long while that the TCPA has disallowed automated, pre-recorded calls to cell phones as part of its debt collection practices, here is a facsimile of an April 27, 2006 letter from Kathleen Brown, who identifies herself as "Regional Vice President of Business Development for Credit Collection Services," to the chairman of the FCC complaining that her "business has been substantially harmed as a result of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) 2003 regulatory decision to expand the definition
of autodialer": http://ecfsdocs.fcc.gov/filings/2006/05/08/5513486550.html
Speaking from personal experience, I can state that as of October 2011, CCS continues to initiate illegal robo-calls to cell phones, for I have received several such calls from 617-581-1049 in which pre-recorded voicemail messages are left instructing the recipient to go to www.warningnotice.com and input a file number for further information -- very much as described in the Statement of Facts section of the federal case against CCS (Sengenberger v. Credit Control Services
-- a federal case filed in Illinois) described on this web page as of May 5, 2010: http://il.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.20100505_0000634.NIL.htm/qx
. According to EPIC
, such practices have been banned since September 1, 2009.
Not having learned its lesson, CCS appears ready to get clobbered by the same federal court in Illinois for once again robo-calling a cell phone, among other things, in a case known as Melissa Thrasher-Lyon v. Illinois Farmers Insurance Company and CCS Commercial LLC d/b/a Credit collection Services Commercial
, filed on July 1, 2011, and briefly outlined here: http://www.passionforsubro.com/subrogation/amicus-committee-update-two-class-action-lawsuits/#high_5
Litigation is one way to respond to the ongoing abuses of the TCPA by CCS. In addition, the FCC welcomes complaints against the company, which can be the basis for investigations and sanctions against the company. Just select "Telemarketing, Prerecorded Messages and Do-Not-Call"
as the complaint type on their handy online form, available here: http://www.fcc.gov/complaints