Court: Companies can't weasel out of state ban on excessive debt-collection calls by using auto-dialers

A state limit on how many times a company can call somebody to demand payment of a debt includes robo-calls made by automated dialers, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled today.

Target acknowledged it had called a Hampden County woman a number of times in one week to get her to pay up on some bill, but said the calls were exempt from a state law because the company used an automated system to call her and play a message, rather than having a live person ring her up and bug her.

Nice legal tap dancing, but no dice, the state's highest court said, in its ruling on the state's limit of two calls in a seven-day period.

Target's proffered interpretation of the regulation is inconsistent with its plain meaning and the Attorney General's guidance, and is contrary to the regulation's purpose of preventing creditors from harassing, oppressing, or abusing debtors. The regulation applies to any attempted telephonic communication by a creditor to a debtor in an effort to collect a debt, so long as, as here, the creditor is able to reach the debtor or to leave a voicemail message for the debtor.


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PDF icon Complete Target ruling124.55 KB


Damn, so we can't program

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Damn, so we can't program robots to commit crimes for us either I suppose.

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So how is this going to be

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So how is this going to be enforced if MA's enforcement powers end at the border? Shouldn't this have been a federal case because of interstate issues?

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Eversource called me every day recently

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I got a robocall every weekday morning for an overdue bill just a couple months ago. Hmm. How much money can I get from them?

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