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Direct Energy Debt Collection Calls Violating TCPA, TDCA Class Action

Debt collectors may contact a consumer debtor by picking up a receiver and dialing a number individually. What they may not do is call consumer cell phones using automatic dialing equipment, according to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This class action brings suit against Direct Energy Services, LLC under the TCPA and the Texas Debt Collection Act (TDCA).

Under the TCPA, businesses may not make non-emergency calls to consumer cell phones using an automatic dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice unless they have the consumers’ prior express written consent to receive the calls. 

Direct Energy is a utility company operating in Texas. Plaintiff Gayla F. Murphy allegedly owed a consumer debt to Direct Energy for personal utility services.

Sometime in March 2019, Murphy began receiving calls to her cell phone, trying to collect the debt from her. The primary number used by the company to call her was (888) 305-3828, although it may have used others as well, the complaint says. 

When Murphy answered some of these calls, there would be a pause of several seconds, during which she would say hello several times. Only then would she be connected to a live person, the complaint says. This is usually seen as a sign of the use of an automatic dialing system.

At other times, Direct Energy sent Murphy calls with prerecorded messages. 

Eventually, Murphy told Direct Energy to stop calling her. However, the company continued to call her cell phone. In fact, the complaint says, Direct Energy “has contacted [Murphy] at least 15 times after her demands that [Direct Energy] stop contacting her cellular phone.”

In addition to these violations of the TCPA, the complaint alleges that Direct Energy has violated the portion of the TDCA which says that “a debt collector may not oppress, harass, or abuse a person by causing a telephone to ring repeatedly or continuously, or make repeated or continuous telephone calls, with the intent to harass a person at the called number.” 

Two classes have been proposed for this action. 

  • The Automatic Telephone Dialing System Class is all persons living in Texas to whose cell phones Direct Energy placed collection calls using an automatic dialing system after those persons had revoked prior express consent, between June 19, 2015 and the date of class certification in this case. 
  • The Prerecorded Messages Class is all persons living in Texas to whose cell phones Direct Energy placed collection calls using prerecorded messages after those persons had revoked prior express consent, between June 19, 2015 and the date of class certification in this case.

 

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Direct Energy Debt Collection Calls Violating TCPA, TDCA Complaint

June 19, 2019

Debt collectors may contact a consumer debtor by picking up a receiver and dialing a number individually. What they may not do is call consumer cell phones using automatic dialing equipment, according to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This class action brings suit against Direct Energy Services, LLC under the TCPA and the Texas Debt Collection Act (TDCA).

direct_energy_tcpa_tdca_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

Direct Energy Debt Collection Calls Violating TCPA, TDCA Complaint

June 19, 2019

Debt collectors may contact a consumer debtor by picking up a receiver and dialing a number individually. What they may not do is call consumer cell phones using automatic dialing equipment, according to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This class action brings suit against Direct Energy Services, LLC under the TCPA and the Texas Debt Collection Act (TDCA).

direct_energy_tcpa_tdca_complaint.pdf
Tags: Harassing or Repeated Telephone Calls, TCPA, Unsolicited Cell Phone Calls, Use of Automatic-Capable Dialer, Use of artificial or pre-recorded voice