With all the complicated and nuanced legal issues in TCPAWorld — I just spoke for five hours on this stuff Tuesday– once in a while it is nice to remind ourselves of what is solid bedrock around here. A quick and simple summary judgment ruling out of Georgia yesterday does the trick quite nicely.
In Oatman v. Augusta Collection Agency, CV 118-089, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 213714 (S.D. Ga. Dec. 11, 2019) the Plaintiff sued a collection company under the TCPA for making calls about a debt he claims he did not owe. While such allegations—if true—might afford a remedy under other statutes, such calls are not actionable under the TCPA where they are made with “express consent.”
For informational calls—such as debt collection calls—express consent is presumed any time a consumer provides a phone number directly to a creditor or a collector. In Oatman, the Plaintiff had provided his number directly to the collector in the very first call between the parties. The act of supplying the number is, in and of itself, presumed express consent under the law.
So all calls by the collector to the Plaintiff are deemed consented for TCPA purposes—at least until the consent is revoked, such as by the Plaintiff asking not to be called. But in Oatman the Plaintiff did not ask for calls to stop until much later in time and, when he did the calls stopped. So there was no viable TCPA claim and judgment was entered in favor of the Defendant.
It really doesn’t get much simpler than Oatman in TCPA circles. This is a classic presumed express consent case that was swiftly, and properly, determined in favor of the defense.