A man’s mother­-in-law passed away. After the death, he sought to cancel her electrical service by calling the power company. When he did this, he found out that his deceased relative owed money to this utility company. Consequently, the company tried to collect the debt from him. One method it used was automated phone calls. The man alleged that the 72 automated calls he received in a six-month period violated the Telephone Consumer Protection ACT (TCPA) according to the New York Law Journal on October 22, 2014.

In court, the electric company claimed that they had the man’s consent to call because he contacted them about stopping the service. The court agreed with the electric company and granted it summary judgment, thus stopping the man from receiving any compensation for the violation.

The man appealed the decision, and this time, he won. The Circuit Court, the higher court, looked to a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission. The court reversed the lower court’s decision. The higher court acknowledged the debt, but opined that because the man did not give his phone number to the electric company when they established the debt with him, he had not granted the company permission to make the automated calls.

If you are facing harassing debt collectors or are considering filing bankruptcy, then you should contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible. In the first circumstance, a lawyer can determine if you have a case and help you understand if the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act (FDCPA) or the TCPA apply. If you wish to file bankruptcy, then a lawyer can represent you from preparing your petition to receiving your discharge so that you can get a fresh start. Call 718-514-6619 to set up a free in-person consultation with Jayson Lutzky, a Bronx, NY lawyer with over 31 years of legal experience. Visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com for more information on personal bankruptcy.